Coaster Restraints - Worst for Big Riders

Friday, August 15, 2003 9:08 PM
What are the worst restraint systems for larger riders?

I found that the seatbelt in the seat I got in on Millennium Force this year was too small for me, and I was told (by park employees) that the belts on Top Thrill Dragster are even smaller? I've had virtually no problem with restraints before on MF and I wonder if maybe the seatbelts in some seats are shorter than others on the ride? Anybody have any experience with TTD?

This largely seems to be a problem with INTAMIN coasters - the V2 Vertical Velocity & Wicked Twister coasters are not configured for larger riders either. Are they designing these things for Europeans or Americans?!!

I'm not that big a person and don't seem to have trouble at other parks/rides... what is it with Cedar Point and its restraint systems? This borders on discrimination.... !

Friday, August 15, 2003 9:37 PM
CP's ride restraints are no different than any other parks I've been too. I highly doubt the belts changed any on MF this year, but if they did it's for your safety, they aren't trying to single out large people. They are making it so someone too large who can't properly be restained will not get injured or worse on any of their rides. No offense, but don't blame the manufacture for having seats that are two small, there is a reason for the way they do everything. I for one have never, and have never personally known anyone who has been not able to fit in a coaster restraint nor do I know anyone who has even had any bit of difficulty fitting in a ride. Although I have seen rather large people not being able to fit on rides, but thats because they are heavily overweight, and thats their fault.

"This time I think ... I think it's ... it's going to work!" - Dr.Bruce Banner

Friday, August 15, 2003 9:52 PM
FoF at PKD is horrible for large riders. I see regularly rideops pileing onto the restraint to get it to latch.

And there is one coaster that has bad restraints for SMALL riders. The Hurricane at Rye is just so poorly designed that I was continually bouncing from side to side, resulting in major bruises on my legs. Ouch.


Friday, August 15, 2003 11:55 PM
Is it possible you changed? I think the worst restraint have to be the fixed lap bars with lap belts, such as KW's jackrabbit and CLP's Blue Streak, it can be rough for some people squeezing through those. The only rides that give me a real problem are the smaller coasters like cedar creek mine ride due to lack of leg room, but thats a ride I ride maybe once a year if we got kids with us. But the ride I see the most problems with are Mantis as far as people waiting in line and not being about to ride. Do people not see the test seat? Or is the test seat larger? Or are people to humble and thing that they will fit into anything. I mean especially if I was a tight fit in one coaster I would definatly try the test seat for other coasters.

But would you rather they make all coasters comfy for large riders and forget about safety of the average sized rider? But in all fairness to what IOA said its not just overweight riders that don't fit in some rides, for some people its out of their control, I have seen stalky riders not fit due to larger shoulders and tall riders not fit especailly on rides with otsr's, But I still think safety and comfort for the avg sized riders should be #1

Saturday, August 16, 2003 4:00 AM
Actually, IOARules & Snap43, it *is* possible that I might have changed since last year but not by that much. IOA, if you haven't known anyone just a little too big to fit into the seatbelts on some of these rides, then honestly you must have a very homogenous, trim circle of friends. (I'm trying to restrain myself in my response to you, because believe me, you don't want to hear what I'm really thinking!!) I've heard people telling me this year that they've seen upwards of 8 or more people being ejected from the Millennium Force station at any one time, simply because they're not able to fit in the belts. I'm not talking about morbidly obese people, but those that are just a bit larger than the average guy out there. I wrote Cedar Point park operations earlier this Summer and all they would tell me is that the belts on MF had been switched around the start of the 2002 season, "per the manufacturer's instructions," but they would give no more detail on this. I, too, do not favor changing restraint systems so that they would accommodate exceedingly oversize people, but I do think they COULD, if they wanted to, make it so that the seat belts are a little bit longer (they're adjustable, after all- no safety concession there!) to accommodate those of us who want to ride and are missing out by just an inch or 2. There are a large number of bigger people in ACE; I'm surprised they haven't spoken up about this yet, but I certainly plan to bring it to their attention as an ACE member.

Case in point: Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England (and all the other Supermen on the East Coast) - the seatbelts in the front seat of every car are longer than those in the back, and I have absolutely NO trouble riding those coasters, with slack to spare in the belt. These are INTAMIN creations, just like Millennium Force, and use exactly the same stadium-seating trains as MF, so why can't MF's belts be similar? As far as the test seats on these rides go, they are NOT always a good indicator of whether a person can fit into the ride or not - sometimes a potential rider will fit into the test seat and then not onto the actual train and vice versa. I was told by a park employee at CP that the test seat outside Top Thrill Dragster is in fact a Millennium Force seat, and not truly indicative of the actual seats on TTD, on which she told me the seatbelts were in fact even tighter. You can bet, after that comment, I didn't stand in line for 2 hours at TTD, waiting only to be ejected from the station!

What I find to be an alarming statistic is that the restraint systems on these rides are actually designed for a very specific profile - check out this quote I found online:

<<As cold-hearted as Intamin sounds, the company is simply complying with the engineering standards created by the amusement ride industry. ASTM F1159-97a sums up all the design and manufacture requirements for all amusement rides in three short pages. Paragaph 5.1 says "the weight assigned to an adult passenger, for design purposes, shall be 170 lb". Paragraph 5.2 says "the weight assigned to a 12-year-old child passenger, for design purposes, shall be 90 lb." There is no requirement to design or test the ride for heavier or lighter passengers. There is no requirement that restraint design take patron's size into account. There is no requirement for manufacturers to define minimum or maximum patron weight in the documentation given to ride owners, or for ride owners to post that information for patrons.

Intamin is in full compliance with federal laws governing amusement ride design, because there are no such laws. >>

So, that means if you're an adult and you're considerably less or greater than 170 lbs, then the restraint system isn't really certified for you and therefore not guaranteed to protect you??? I find this outrageous if it's the truth. And, since there are no laws governing ride design, neither INTAMIN nor any other manufacturer is required to published statements of disclosure on these issues!

This is just a sore point with me this year, people; I don't really blame the parks - it's the manufacturers who are calling the shots on this - and I don't believe it has to be this way, especially since seatbelts are adjustable. I would concede that on OTSR's that is altogether another issue, and yes, they are designed to operately safely within a certain range of body styles, outside of which, they would not be safe. But with belts, we're looking at something that is adjustable, configurable, and all it would take is a little more fabric to make them accommodating to a wider range of riders.

Saturday, August 16, 2003 6:12 AM
Son of Beast! (Sorry Jeff S.)

It is really difficult for taller riders to get in, and then be somewhat comfortable once they are in.

Saturday, August 16, 2003 7:07 AM
The quote you found online about the ASTM standard is incomplete at best. There is a clause in there about the design weight being 170 pounds *or 12 pounds per inch of width at the hip, whichever is greater*. Which is why Chance had to change the weight limit on the Yo-Yo from "170 pounds per rider" to "average of 170 pounds per rider if properly restrained" because the seats are 22" wide.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Saturday, August 16, 2003 7:16 AM
I find the tiny little safety belts on Intamins impulse coasters to be ridiculous. I'm tall, and the harness comes down onto my shoulders far enought the that the chest part (vertical?) is sitting in my lap, but yet the belt is a struggle to attach. Why? I don't get it.

"You think you know me..."

Saturday, August 16, 2003 9:15 AM

Neuski said:
Son of Beast! (Sorry Jeff S.)

It is really difficult for taller riders to get in, and then be somewhat comfortable once they are in.

Which is exactly why people hate it. No leg room. Combine that with the roughness on some of the ride , and you have a pain machine.If you watch , you will see kids coming off, smiling , while adults are holding some part on thier body , going ow.

If they would make it so you can put your feet under the next seat , like PTC trains , I doubt anyone would have a problem.

I'm so friggin' sick of people who think the Crystal beach Cyclone would have been a great coaster. Woohoo ! I just rode this great ride , and Now My arm is broken and my tailbone is Bruised!

Saturday, August 16, 2003 9:52 AM

CoasterFanVt2003 said:

"the weight assigned to an adult passenger, for design purposes, shall be 170 lb". Paragraph 5.2 says "the weight assigned to a 12-year-old child passenger, for design purposes, shall be 90 lb."

90 pounds?? My own brother is twelve years old at 170 pounds. He is very tall (5' 8"), but there needs to be a compromise. 160 is a reasonable compromise I think. They should make it so that you can give or take 80 pounds. That range (80-240) is where most coaster riders are.

Flour nil mice men
Rearrange that and you get...
Millenium Force!

Saturday, August 16, 2003 10:35 AM
The best way to combat this is to write a letter to the park's operations department stating the gripe. Of course be nice about but be firm. The amusement parks need to advocate to the ride manufactures who determine the seat belt size. It is no secret that most americans are large and by having Intamin, a switzerland company, mis size the restraints is disturbing.

I have a letter going out to the Vice President of Cedar Fail LLP asking for a refund of my money. No sense in tellig what happened here because the message will most likely be deleted but I will say that the seat belts are a little too short for a lot of people and that the park operations has gotten many complaints about it. The ride operators do keep a tally too!
Saturday, August 16, 2003 12:10 PM
I am 6'8" and i could ride all of the roller coasters at CP no problem. The tightest squeeze is the mine ride, but after the thing was latched i was fine. Wooden coasters often lack leg room and my knees hit on the back of the seat in front of me. The best way to ride comfortably if you are tall is to sit in a row that is the front of a car. Suspended coasters are obviously no problem, although i did see someone up there complaining about Impules. I had no problem fitting into WT and thought it was great. Also mantis was no problem although i couldn't keep my legs straight, even with the restraint as far up as it would go.

As Mitch always said, "If you had a freind who was a tightrope walker and he fell down just walking down the street, that would be completely unacceptable."

Saturday, August 16, 2003 12:46 PM
Parkenthusiast, thanks much for the note on writing park ops - I did write Cedar Point Park Ops in the early part of the Summer; it was a very well worded, firm letter directed at the issue, and also expressing my great disappointment, since I had just purchased a CP season pass for the first time ever this year (and I live over 500 miles from the park so at best was only planning on about 3 visits this year to justify the pass). Most of their older rides I have no problems on (except that Blue Streak is a bit of a stretch). I was very disappointed in CP's response to my letter - it was, while very polite, largely a copy & paste job citing text from their brochures and web site. I can only hope that if enough park patrons contact them (and I also walked in to the Park Ops office while on site there to voice my opinion), then maybe they'll begin to listen!

Saturday, August 16, 2003 2:52 PM
Very simple if B&M can do it why can't Intamin?

Coasterfan, IOA is 17 he's just a kid.

*** This post was edited by ExJPranger 8/16/2003 6:59:47 PM ***

Saturday, August 16, 2003 4:18 PM
Yea, but often times the people I go to the parks with our my dad my friends and their parents. No one, and I repeat no one has had trouble getting on rides at CP or anywhere else for that matter. The only rides that were ever uncomfortable was GASM and Cyclone at SFOG, for my cousin because he is 6'4" and had his knees bashed around against the front of the cars.

The format of the Intamin coaster trains/cars/seats and track allow them to do things that other companies can't ride wise. On a ride like S:UE, for safety reasons, it's obvious that the restraints would need to have a tighter fit than say a B&M invert. Same goes with pretty much any of their rides. Intamin and parks aren't going to change anything for overweight guests, because their weight is their responsibility. It's not like trains are going out half empty on a consistent basis because guests are too large.

"This time I think ... I think it's ... it's going to work!" - Dr.Bruce Banner

Saturday, August 16, 2003 6:27 PM
God bless ya, IOA... I'm so happy for ya ... I give up!! LOL :)
Saturday, August 16, 2003 7:07 PM
On MF why is there all that extra thick belt at the end. If it hadn't been there I would have had a lot more room. I fit just perfectly.

I haven't had any problems with the primary safety bars on any rides. It's the secondary seat belts on intamin coasters where I really have to suck it in.

Now tell me Cedar Point is running out of space.
*** This post was edited by Fury 8/16/2003 11:09:11 PM ***

Monday, August 18, 2003 12:15 AM
The same thing on the Top Thrills Dragster with regard to having doubled up seatbelt material at the end. That is ridiculous to have that much unuseable seat belt material at the end.

A seatbelt does not determine a persons weight. That argument does not even hold an ounce of sewage water. What about people who work out as in lift weights and or are of an athletic build. These people could weigh quite a bit but yet be smaller than a person who has a healthy waist line.

Amusement parks exist for the purpose of having fun by all. You should not have to thumb through a safety guide to determine if you will have fun at an amusement park. Cedar point has a 32 page 2003 Rider Safety Guide booklet for crying out loud. Cedar point has varying minimum and maximum hieght requiremnts for their attractions that go from: 36, 39, 42, 46, 48
, 52, and 54 inches.


Driving over 260 miles one way for 5 hours one way and end up only going on two rides because you discover that you fit fine in the
attraction seats and the lap bar or pull over bar comes down fine but the seatbelt is too short
to connect properly is not cool.

I road the Iron Dragon once, the Power Tower once and that was it. Interesting enough the one seat on the Power Tower that I was assigned to had difficulty with the seat belt not latching. The ride attendant asked me to switch seats with a younger smaller rider and my new seat belt latched properly as did the other rider's seat belt .

Top Thrills Dragstor test seat - no go. Seatbelt would not reach.

MF no go Seat Belt would not reach.

Wicked Twister - no go. Seat Belt would not reach.

Next ride to try was the Mantis which did not have a test seat. I stood in line for over an hour and a half only to be told by the ride attendant that the seat belt would not reach sorry.

Got to be able to fit in the seat properly but we do not care if you buckle over while in the long slow moving queue lines do to sun stroke or heat exhaustion. They do not have a lot of canapies or water misters/fans to keep you cool.
I, more than once was tempted to, almost dive in the water pond around the Mantis.

These attractions I attempted to go were not close to each other by any means. I walked quite a bit to get to them. After the Manitis disapointment I was steaming and my next march was right into the park operations offices
of the Coliseum (arcade) building.

When I walked into the park operations office there was a husband, wife, and two young boys who were ahead of me. The wife was describing an incident that occurred to the park's operations manager. The wife was so upset she was crying and really crying. From what she was saying her and the two younger boys wanted to ride a aprticular attractin and the ride attendant would not allow the two boys to ride together and would not let anyone of the two boys ride by themself becuase they were not old enough or big enough to do so. The ride attendant told the mother to have one of the young boys wait outide of the attraction while she went on the attractin with the other boy. The husband was not around and she got very upset about the overall attitude the ride attendant took on the situation. Imagine an adult getting so upset that they start crying in front of all of us. A young lady quickly attended to my issue. I was very very direct and very very clear as what I wanted. I think if she were alone she would be afraid the way I was looking at her. I was pissed but nice about it. I need to speak with a manager, I would like a refund, Seat belts are to short, I am going to get help on this.

The young lady said that Cedar point doesn't give refunds for something like that. The only person who would need to authorize such a refund would be the Vice President of the company. I said fine what is his name and what is his telephone number? If I am not satisfied with his responce I will go to the President and tell everyone that I can tell on the open Internet. She cringed at that.

Vice President
One CedarPoint Drive
Sandusky, Ohio 44870-5259

Telephone: 419-626-0830

I believe I have a good chance of getting my refund because one, The Power Tower accomidated my size just fine. Two, there is a picture on the CedarPoint WWW site of a guy who is riding the Top Thrills Dragstor and who is much bigger than me. Three, Park Operations of CedarPoint has gotten many complaints about the seat belts being to short. Four, When I stopped to eat at Johnny Rockets the waitress asked my if I wanted my change back from the ten dollars I had given her for a $8.77 bill after I put .50 cents in front of her for the tip. I said yes and the waitress handed me $1.00 back and could not seem to find .23 cents. I said never mind with the change and grabbed one of my two quarters back. $8.77 for a cheeseburger and fries. Wow and she expected a $1.73 tip.
Five, on the way out of the park I stopped to get a small malt shake to take in the car with me. $4 dollars and something cents and they do not have lids for the paper cups. The kid who made the malt did not understand what I was asking for and said wait a minute I have to check.... Comes back no we do not have lid covers....
Went to pay for the malt and I told cachier that I could not believe you do not have covers for the beverage paper cups. The old guy said that it was do to people throwing them on the ground. makes the park dirty. Then when I said I was leaving to drive home he tells me that I should not be driving and drinking a beverage. I responded with that is why I wanted a cover so I could sip it with the straw. The cachier responded with relax sit down drink it and enjoy it...

Yep, I will get my refund that I am asking for and so should anyone who experienced not being able to go on attractions do to a single problem with a restraint system on the attractions.

Monday, August 18, 2003 4:49 AM
the worst systen i've seen is the one on great bear in HP. I saw one man that was rotated between 3 large seats to fit in the train.
Monday, August 18, 2003 5:21 AM
My dad is on the larger side, but it's not lapbars that trouble him, but the OTSR's. He can't get the OTSR's to go down far enough because of his stomach. But I've had my share of experiences with him to know a lot about this case.

Homepark- Six Flags New England- We've found the larger seats on Batman: Dark Knight. We've found that you have to go in a front of car seat on Superman: Ride of Steel because the seat belts are longer.

Recent Trip- Six Flags Great Adventure- Could not fit on Batman: The Ride, there are no larger seats because the trains are older. Found the larger seats on Medusa. All other lapbar rides are fine. All other OTSR's are fine.

Recent Trip- Dorney Park- Fits into everything, even Talon's OTSR's.

Now I dislike a couple of things. One, there is nowhere in any of the stations telling where larger riders can ride with bigger restraints. Nowhere. This causes hassle. The restraints have to be opened, people moved, rechecked, etc. There definitely should be signs in the station signaling larger seats. In fact, I believe on Talon, there are signs in the station signaling "big boy seats". This should be taken into action.

Two, some test seats are not the larger seats. If you have a test seat, it better be one to accomodate the larger guests, so they don't have to be disappointed when they wait over an hour for a ride. The little kids can fit into the larger seats, so that's not a problem. There are also signs at the beginning of the queve. They should say if larger guest can be accomodated on the ride.

I lost my hat on Poison Ivy. How pathetic.


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