Kansas has no safety laws to oversee Wild West World

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Kansas has no laws setting safety standards for amusement park rides. Kansas’ lone statute on the subject requires only that amusement ride operators carry at least $1 million in liability insurance. The same law permits, but does not require, the host city and county governments to establish their own safety standards. Thomas Etheredge, Wild West World’s owner, developer and operator, said every ride would undergo thorough scrutiny by private inspection companies before the park opens.

Read more from The Kansas City Star.

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First of all, this wasn't an article, it was an opinion or editorial. I hope everyone gets that. Second of all, when does a spinning mouse qualify as a fairly serious coaster? I guess it's all relative to what you have or have experienced, but it's kind of funny to me.

I believe that the editorial writer is entitled to his opinion (and it may have been of the paper's opinion as well), but I have to side with the owner in this one. He's out to see that Wild West World is a safe park, or he won't achieve his goal of 350,000 people the first year. It's that simple.

Would some kind of state government agency hurt for inspection like in Maryland or other states? Probably not, but it's important that those people actually have training in that area or they're useless.
*** This post was edited by Intamin Fan 1/9/2007 10:39:28 AM ***

^Compared to a plopped down kiddie dragon coaster on the carnival circuit which Kansas is more used to probably, I guess a spinning mouse would be considered a serious coaster.
Let's not forget that Kansas has a wooden coaster, Nightmare, at Joyland.

If there are no safety regulations, why can't Joyland get this coaster up and running?

rollergator's avatar
^ From what I heard (read?), Pete, insuring the coaster was the main hitch in getting it operational. Which makes more sense now....since the regulations in KS are different, an insurer might be a little wary of covering a ride that doesn't go through the *normal* State-mandated inspections like they do elsewhere (ALL other states, AFAIK)...

Oh, check your PMs, pete.... ;)

janfrederick's avatar
They should have checked out Lloyds of London. I hear they'll insure just about everything.
Jan is right. Insurance companies will insure anything for a price.

Rollergator, that's nonsense. Kansas is not the only state that doesn't have a state mandated inspection program. A theme park can find an insurer for a ride without a state inspection. If Joyland is having issues getting their roller coaster insured then it relates to the condition of the ride, not the lack of a state inspection program.

rollergator's avatar
An insurer wants someone who is knowledgeable to "sign off" that the ride is in good condition and is *unlikely* to injure people. I probably phrased it poorly, but state certification is at least AN indication that the ride is deemed safe by someone other than Fred the mechanic (not that Fred's knowledge or expertise isn't valued, LOL).

Didn't we have a *thing* a few years' back where one state distinguished between "fixed-site operators" and carnivals/fairs in terms of insections and such...that MIGHT have even been <em>my</em> state, LOL...

I was NOTR stating that I "knew the facts", just throwing out some POSSIBLE explanations, along with some inferences that MAY, or may NOT, have been accurate...but we don't have the facts at this point, so conjecture is the next best thing...or not... ;)

"A little nonsense now and then, is valued by the wisest men"... ;)

"An insurer wants someone who is knowledgeable to "sign off" that the ride is in good condition and is *unlikely* to injure people."

This makes a lot of sense...I've never thought about it that way. The problem as I see it is that the people with the knowledge on these things usually have a bias. They either work for the park or ride manufacurer...therefore the vested interest is in passing the inspection. If you start trusting government...then you usually get people who know very little about what they are inspecting...but still have a vested interest in justifying their position. They tend to nitpick stuf they know nothing about as a means of justifying their government status.

You would like to think the insurance companies would hire their own inspectors with knowledge of the situation. My guess is that peopl wih knowledge of this stuff is rather limited...

It's been said before, and I'll say it again.

It's in a parks best interest to operate safely.

It's important to have safety inspectors who actually specialize in amusement rides, and not just the same guy who inspects the elevators as we've read about.

I managed to have a talk several years ago with one of the amusement safety people from the State of Maryland who was going over a train from S:ROS with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak (for those unfamiliar with the park, S:ROS has no maintenance shed). I seem to remember him telling me what he was looking for. It's nice to know that there's someone like that with that kind of training.

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