Florida ag commissioner proposes ride safety draft bill

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is looking to make amusement parks safer. Fried introduced an initial draft of legislation Wednesday that would create a framework for ride safety across all amusement parks in the state, in response to the death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson on the ICON Park drop tower.

Read more from WMFE/Orlando.

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Jeff's avatar

This isn't detailed enough to be legislation, but I don't see anything that would have really prevented Tyre's death here. The part about restraints might have, but when we went through the ride specs and manuals some weeks back, was there anything there that specified minimum closure of the restraint?


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

There was not. Not only was there not anything about minimum restraint position, there was also no mention of using the limit switch as a qualification for riding...the manual explicitly states that the operator is to make sure that the restraint is properly positioned and implies that this decision is to be made independent of the state of the limit switch. That said, we have only seen the manufacturer's documentation, not the Owner/Operator's Operating Document which is required by ASTM F770-21a:6.1*. I recall hearing somewhere that operators were using the go/no-go indicators on the ride to determine who could and could not ride, and if they were trained to do that based on the Owner/Operator's documentation, I can't fault the operators for acting in violation of the manufacturer's specifications. I can, however, fault the Owner/Operator for establishing operating procedures contrary to those specified by the manufacturer.

The closest we come to any kind of restraint tolerance comes from the restraint testing rig, which is not intended to measure the minimum locking position, but rather to detect failure of the hydraulic locking cylinders...we're given a maximum excursion (as indicated on the test jig) under a calibrated load (the test jig). It still kind of blows my mind that the limit switch is adjustable and there is no measurement for the correct position of the limit switch. I'm surprised TÜV wasn't explicit about that. So going back to the proposed framework, the proposed requirement seems reasonable enough except that in the case of the ICON Park incident there was no specification to work from.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

* Yes, I have a copy of all the F24 committee standards right here on my computer where I can get to them easily. No, I haven't memorized all these sections; I'm not THAT good.

Last edited by RideMan,

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