Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2016 8:30 AM | Contributed by Jeff
A father posted a video of him riding with his child on a roller coaster at Wonderland Park in Amarillo, Texas, that appears to show his child sliding down into the car during the ride. Attention ensues. [Ed. note: Another news outlet says the ride did not originally have seat belts at all. -J]
Read more and see video from KTRK/Houston.
There are so many things wrong with this report that I don't know where to begin. But a good place to start is to ask if the kid was actually in any danger. We've all been in rides like this. If you were to slide on to the floor, chances are that you're not going anywhere. Short of standing on top of the lap bar, I'm not convinced that it would be terribly easy to fall out of the ride.
Considering the look on the kid's face, I suspect that he was scared and slid down to the floor himself. Nice parenting for forcing your kid on the ride. That there was an after-market seat belt at all strikes me as irrelevant. There are no seat belts at all on Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and Barnstormer.
Biggest danger that kid faced was getting smacked in the face with his dad's cell phone.
If I'm genuinely afraid for my kid's life, you'd better believe I'm going to keep recording the incident...
Park employees need to be trained never to say things like that. Not only is it not relevant since it was an aftermarket addition, you never say "yeah we know that's a 'problem'" in these situations.
That happened to me on a Chance Paratrooper when I was 5. Whether or not the kid was in any real danger, it sure doesn't instill confidence in the public.
I've seen stuff like this happen when I was working at Cedar Point. The Balloon Race and other flat rides in Camp Snoopy have little plastic buckles that attach the seat belts. They are easily pulled loose with a strong tug. The scariest incident was when a mentally disabled boy of about ten or twelve got his poncho stuck in the wheel that riders use to spin the ride vehicle. He ended up head down with his feet in the air, screaming. That's why ride operators are supposed to keep their hand over the E-stop button, and pay attention.
I have never seen this happen on a roller coaster though.
I do remember when I was a little kid and my cousin fell into the floor of the ride vehicle on the Scrambler at Camden Park. The floor of that ride is very open. He was terrified.
SDC Galaxies, or at least the one at Kings Dominion eons ago, didn't always have seat belts. But because of incidents like the kid who stood up on said Galaxi and got himself killed (and the multitude of people who took a dirt nap because they climbed a fence to retrieve their beloved $7 hat), parks had to protect idiots from themselves.
That includes this genius.
Mr. Vater is right, and I was thinking myself about those Galaxies when this story came out. Having ridden many over the years including the Coney/KI, KD, Indiana Beach, and perennial state fair rides, there were never any seat belts. Those cars are more like tubs than anything, and you have to hoist your leg up and over to get in. The seats are low to the floor as well. Combine that with the lack of severe forces on such a ride and I'd think it would be hard to fall out even if you were in a dead faint.
This story must be all over the Facebooks because I'm sick of people asking me about it. Well, maybe I'm just sick of explaining why this is a non-story.
Perfect example of the media's idiocy:
On CNN's homepage, the link to the story says "Boy falls from coaster seat".
If that eye-popping headline makes you click and you start reading (about how no one fell from any seat anywhere at anytime), right in the middle of the story there is another link to another story with the title "Roller Coaster hits, kills Cedar Point patron".
If you're the (what seems to be ) typical internet browser who doesn't read a full story, your brain registers two things: 1) boy fell out of coaster, and 2) recently a Cedar Point coaster killed someone.
This is why you're people are bugging you.
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