Dragster riders upset how CP treated them after coaster mishap

Posted | Contributed by supermandl

Riders involved in Monday's incident on Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, where they were hit by metal fragments from a fraying cable, say they weren't taken seriously after the incident.

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This is different...though I won't be convincing you I can tell. If a ride's restraints have failed several times over the course of a couple of years and then someone gets hurt when it happens again...that is quite a bit different than a restraint that breaks out of the blue having never shown a sign that there was a problem.

The Corkscrew chain snap, to my knowledge, was completely out of the blue. The Dragster incident involved metal shards flying...which is exactly a problem that was noted to be of significance less than a year ago. (Edit...metal shards were found to be a problem..not flying metal shards.) It isn't much of a stretch, is it?

I still don't know what happened here and my guess is we might never k now all of the facts. But, I would bet money that the majority of people here who are saying these guys are just crying wolf...had they been the injured...would be putting up a stink too. In fact, if it was Cedar Fair officials or their children who were hurt as opposed to these guests I suspect a good number of them would be taking some type of action.

If you were at a minature golf course and the a piece of the windmill flew off and whacked you upside the head, would you be satisfied if they offered you a free slurpee for your inconvenience?

*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 7/15/2004 1:57:18 PM ***

Gemini's avatar
I'd be more worried about my headache than a free drink! No amount of freebie - except for perhaps a free asprin - will help me. My concerns would be - why did this happen, did you know this could happen, how will you make sure it won't happen again? I'd want answers, not handouts.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

If you were at a minature golf course and the a piece of the windmill flew off and whacked you upside the head, would you be satisfied if they offered you a free slurpee for your inconvenience?


Again, with all the honesty I'd afford my mother in church on Easter:

I wouldn't even expect that. Hell, I wouldn't even go as far as Gemini. I'd write it off as a wacky occurance, probably laugh about it with my friends, be a tad embarrassed by the attention and finish my game.


The Dragster incident involved metal shards flying...which is exactly a problem that was noted to be of significance less than a year ago. It isn't much of a stretch, is it?

Yet, no one anywhere in print, speech, or even some weird alien thought communication ever (that I've been privvy to or know of) thought of it. Are we to assume CP's crystal balls are more effecient than ours? The folks in charge of such thought and decisions are just human - like the rest of us. As odd as it may sound, no one that I know of (please correct me if I'm wrong, I am willing to put blame somewhere if it's justified) ever put the pieces together in the correct order to foresee this as a potential problem.

It's their job to make the rides as safe as they can. I fully, entirely and one-hundred percent believe they did. The rest was just the natural assumed risk of any activity.

I think there are two *very* key posts above:

Vortex: "Does anyone know what happend to the people in the front seat?"

sros208: "Quote from the article "“We all had our arms up and Joel said, ‘Tim, what's wrong with your arms?’ and he had blood dripping, he had cuts all over his arms,” said rider Whitney James. " "

Both of those are very significant in this case. Where were they sitting in the train (obviously not the front) that they were hit and no one else was (or cared that they didn't get enough free stuff, which I suspect is more the case).

Second, is it not in the Ohio Rider Responsibility Code, which is a law, punishable by the courts and police forces in the state of Ohio that putting your arms up on a ride is illegal? If that's not true, then I know that disobeying any posted signs or ride instructions IS against that code. The fact that these kids have admitted to multiple sources that they had their hands up during the ride makes them in violation of the law. If I was Cedar Point, I'm in no fear of a mega lawsuit actually making it past the inital preceedings at this point ... not to mention they're just after more free stuff anyway.

Gemini's avatar

I wouldn't even go as far as Gemini

Well, yeah ... maybe my post was a bit exaggerated. :) I doubt I'd laugh it off, but I also doubt that I'd be looking for a sanctioned investigation. My main point was I'd be more concerned about answers than I would be with what handout was coming my way. I guess everyone is different. My wife would want the freebie. But, then again, she runs a freebie web site. :)


The fact that these kids have admitted to multiple sources that they had their hands up during the ride makes them in violation of the law.

Oh wait... so it has finally happened. It IS rider error. When does the "If you hold your arms up you should expect to get hit with metal shards being thrown off from somewhere on the coaster" argument begin?

Why can't some people just accept the fact that something just may not be quite right with the premier ride at their favorite park?

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Yes, everyone is different. I'm not sure how many of you noticed the article in the special features thread on my site about our car getting crushed at Disney. (Well, a hotel at Disney :) )

The whole thing is entirely true. Their tree fell on our car in an equally freak accident as the TTD thing or the windmill example and all we wanted was a rental car to get home with and use for a few days until we got the insurance check and found a new car. We had the rental car a total of 6 days.

That's all I expected for the inconvience and damage as a result of their tree falling on my car...some help.

The photos I didn't post on the site were the ones of the big broken hunk of tree that showed just how rotted it was on the inside. 99% of the gawkers were telling us to sue and probably 99% of people in this sort of situation do sue. It never crossed my mind. I assumed the risk of parking under a big tree. No one knew a storm would blow through. No one knew it would rip a hunk of rotted tree off. No one knew it would fall on my car. All we needed was a little assistance in getting back to Jacksonville...a little help from the other party involved in the bizarre occurance. We got that.

I would have expected the same if I were one of those riders on TTD. Those riders got medical attemption and a line pass to boot. They got a little help.

I'm not just talking as an amusement park fan or a CP fanboy or a 'defend the rides until I die"-type moron. I really believe accidents happen and that it's part of life. This is one of those accidents.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

SLFAKE said:

Why can't some people just accept the fact that something just may not be quite right with the premier ride at their favorite park?


Dude. Are you even reading the thread (and the previous one)? It's pretty much unanimously agreed that the cable thing is a problem. The debate is whether or not it was a known problem before this, and if so, where the fault and blame lie and how it should have been handled.

No one is suggesting CP not change a thing and get the ride up tomorrow with the same old cable.

Edited for - spelling, gramattical errors, the usual

*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 7/15/2004 2:40:13 PM ***

Gemini's avatar

It IS rider error.

That's one person's statement. It doesn't mean that everyone is thinking that way. It's obvious that the riders' behavior had nothing to do with getting hit with shards of metal.


Why can't some people just accept the fact that something just may not be quite right with the premier ride at their favorite park?

Oh wait ... so it has finally happened. We don't have valid arguments, we're just a bunch of fanboys. That's as ridiculous as me saying to you that you blame Cedar Point because you hate the park. Playing the fanboy card just says to me that you don't have a valid comment to add to the debate.

Of course something not quite right with the ride. Who here is saying that Dragster is perfect? It's been a maintenance nightmare since Day 1. Are you just pulling these thoughts out of thin air?

*** This post was edited by Gemini 7/15/2004 2:46:40 PM ***

To reply to Gonchar:

And that is where I am going with my comments.

Is the following information correct? "[T]he park DID know they were having problems with the cables. they found cable shards in places it should not have been." (quote from Wahoo Skipper)

IF this is the case, then I would say that yes, this was a known problem, and the park should have taken steps to a) find out where those shards were coming from and b) correct the problem.... not take a chance that nothing will happen.

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 7/15/2004 2:47:19 PM ***

To reply to Gemini:

I just find it so funny how some are so quick to bash certain parks and certain park chains, while at the same time will bend over backward and pull things out of thin air when it involves other parks.

Well, I am not saying an operations person, or the GM even, could have forseen this accident. But I believe an engineer somewhere, either at Intamin or Cedar Point, had to look at those shavings last year and wonder for a moment what would happen should they be coming off at various points on the launch or even the decent of the cable.

In fact, it occurs to me that there is a section of midway over near the Paddewheel Excursion queue that extends down toward the tower but it is blocked off. At some point someone must have thought it would make for a great viewing area yet they are not allowing people down there now. Why would that be?

Impulsive, are you saying that if those riders kept their arms down they wouldn't have got hurt? Come on.

I'll tell you one thing. It better not happen again or this argument won't hold any water at all. They better fix it...and fix it right...or if there is a next time everyone will be saying, "why didn't they do something about this?"

No, but the 'Buzz's resident non-family-owned-park hater has been "following" me through the threads on this subject just waiting to pounce on me for being a Cedar Point can do no wrong fanboy. Sorry bub, I'm not gonna do it. Go to your 1-coaster park with a ferris wheel and enjoy yourself, and I'll stick to my thing and don't accuse me of being a no-fault fanboy. I realize there's something wrong with the ride, but I do NOT think that anyone is owed ANYTHING more than what they already recieved for this minor incident. If you want a full explaination of my feelings on the matter, just re: Gonch and Gemini's posts - I haven't posted much because it'd just be rehashing what these two very on-the-ball gentlemen have been posting ;)
They are being attention whores, yes. Although if it were me I would try to stay out of the news as much as possible. I am very sure (although I could not find it on the cedar point website) that by buying a ticket you accept the "fine print." Of course no park wants someone to get hurt at their park, you have to be sure that Cedar Point has something stating, " if you get hurt at our park it is not our fault," respectively.

Going back to being attention whores. I cannot believe that anyone would just get off the ride after that and be okay, go to the hospital, and not be mad at Cedar Point. Most would sue I think I can safely say- some for money, and some for anger. But going to the media to suck all that it is worth is too much. "YES!!!! I got in the news for getting needles getting stuck in me while on a coaster!" Come on.
*** This post was edited by coasterMNguy... 7/15/2004 2:53:48 PM ***

Yes wahoo that's exactly what I was saying - why do I feel like I'm being stalked and witch-hunted until I admit I feel Dragster can do no wrong? It's not gonna happen cause I don't feel that way (in fact I think the things a piece of crap - fun as all get out, but a piece of crap).

All I was saying was that if they sue Cedar Point, CP can come back at them for being in direct violation (and even admitting to the media they were in direct violation) of Ohio Law!

Lord Gonchar's avatar

In fact, it occurs to me that there is a section of midway over near the Paddewheel Excursion queue that extends down toward the tower but it is blocked off. At some point someone must have thought it would make for a great viewing area yet they are not allowing people down there now. Why would that be?

Because they felt there was the potential for injury in that spot? Is that the right answer? Because if it is, it just validates my point that they never foresaw the pieces coming up and hitting riders. They saw a potential danger and corrected it - proving they do care and take action when they feel there is a problem. They failed to foresee the one that occured the other day. Every conceivable action was taken. (if that wasn't the right answer, then I'm missing what your saying, but I am curious)


I'll tell you one thing. It better not happen again or this argument won't hold any water at all. They better fix it...and fix it right...or if there is a next time everyone will be saying, "why didn't they do something about this?"

I'd love to get into that into more detail, but it's all rhetorical. We still don't know exactly why this happened or what will be done to fix it. Once we do, then that arguement becomes a valid discussion.

Edit - got to quit trying to type so quickly :)

*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 7/15/2004 3:09:32 PM ***

Mamoosh's avatar
So much speculation for people who didn't witness the accident and were not present in the examination room.
There is a legal term called culpable negligence (I think that is it anyway).

If this were to ever get to court: The kids might be able to prove that there was a known maintenance issue with the ride. The park might be able to prove that the kids had their arms up. The "winner" of the case might come down to who the jury decided was more negligent.

I am not saying the kids should sue or that they would win. I am saying they deserve to more upset than you might be if a waitress spilled a coke on you and the manager only offered you a free mint.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
The same was a jury or judge would rule on it, Moosh. Isn't the legal system grand?
Gemini's avatar

Because they felt there was the potential for injury in that spot? Is that the right answer?

If that is the right answer, why have the grandstands? Or allow people to stand near the tower? Maybe there's an operational reason it's blocked off. There's no reason to suspect that they don't allow access back there to keep people safe. Wahoo, are you talking about this area?

*** This post was edited by Gemini 7/15/2004 3:26:02 PM ***

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