Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004 8:31 AM | Contributed by Jeff
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking into the safety of Joyland's 55-year-old Ferris wheel after a girl fell from it and was seriously injured earlier this month. The CPSC does not technically have jurisdiction over amusement parks.
Read more from The Wichita Eagle.
Was this accident really any different from a rider misbehaving on a ski lift? These wheels have been working just fine for decades. Let's think a little about where the responsibility lies.
So basically, Eli Bridge have done everything they can to try and keep riders in if they rock too far, and not totally redesign an 80-year old seat style, but they cant save you from your own stupidity
I mean what do they have to do? Put frigging OTSRs on it????
My guess is that the kids were putting some sort of pressure on it which caused the latch to give and the bar to fly open, but I don't know that for sure... I wasn't there.
About three years ago I witnessed a some teens rocking their seat on the Eli Wheel at Wyandot Lake, I got the ride opts attention who had already told them to stop, and we both decided they should be taken off the ride, so they were let off and not happy. I of course, noted that to a park manager to tell him of the smart thinking on the ride opts behalf.
Thing is, the lap bar on that ride isn't going to just pop open. When the operator pulls the knob to open the bar, the bar won't open by itself, and frequently requires a bit of force to release. The bar has to be forced upward to disengage the casting on the end of the bar from the receiver. If you remove the latch pin entirely, the lap bar should not "just open".
I have my doubts as to whether the bar came open at all, particularly since earlier articles indicated that the operator had yelled at the rider not to rock the seat. I think the open lap bar story is probably a post-incident explanation for how the tub came to be unbalanced. But that is just personal speculation on my part. You could ride an Eli wheel all day long with NO lap bar and still not come out of the thing.
Jeff is correct, the CPSC has no jurisdiction in this case. If the CPSC finds problems, they do not have the authority to force Joyland to make any changes. But they are investigating because they DO have jurisdiction over a large number of similar Eli wheels operating in carnivals that cross state lines, and if they find a product flaw in the Joyland wheel, they can order all the traveling shows to modify or maintain their Wheels accordingly.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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