Knott's warns off riders of "extreme size"

Posted Monday, April 8, 2002 4:47 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Knott's Berry Farm will be posting warnings around the park and at rides indicating that "guests of extreme size" may not be able to ride. A spokesperson for the park indicated that larger guests who do not fit properly into the rides will be asked not to ride. She said that while it is difficult, ride operators have sensitivity training before starting work. The park, and the other Cedar Fair-owned parks, will install the signs following the death last year of a woman who was tossed from Perilous Plunge, a large flume ride, apparently because her weight prohibited her from being restrained properly.

Read more from MSNBC.

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Monday, April 8, 2002 5:26 AM
So why weren't they doing this before?

If the shoe fits, find another one.

Monday, April 8, 2002 5:43 AM
The last I heard, obesity wasn't a "protected class" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Has this changed?
Monday, April 8, 2002 5:44 AM

I doubt the courts would allow it, really. I mean, where do you make the cut-off, as the article suggests?

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

Monday, April 8, 2002 5:57 AM
Full paralyzation is also a protected class under ADA, but a park can state that a person with such a disability cannot ride the ride due to the nature of the ride...
Monday, April 8, 2002 6:45 AM

I don't see absolute weight maximums working. Some people weigh more than their proportions would suggest. The rules should be built around the restraint, and what consitutes proper use of the restraints needs to be clearly defined. This would increase riders safety, remove the "gray area" around who can/cannot ride, and possibly put some of the manufactures' focus on this problem. With people in the US getting larger, the mfgs can't really ignore the issue. "Big Boy" seats are a step in the right direction. But not all rides/mfgs do this.

****** Sometimes us "lurkers" speak ******

Monday, April 8, 2002 7:07 AM
People in the US are getting larger?

If the shoe fits, find another one.

Monday, April 8, 2002 7:23 AM

If done carefully, I would think that this can be done under the ADA. The ADA requires "reasonable" accomadation. It does not require accomadations to suit anyone. In the specific case of obesity, I have heard of business cases where people were unable to perform the work due to obesity and therefore were legally excluded from the job. This is also true for specifically protected classes. IE. A blind man wouldn't have a right to a job as a forest service fire watcher, though he would have a right to braille aids for a job he could do with them.

California also has a state anti-discrimination law called the Unruh act. I don't know what its provisions are.

Monday, April 8, 2002 7:32 AM
I work for a cedar fair park and the perilous plunge incident was dicussed during our training...however they stated that they would not be putting sign up that it would be up to the discression of the attendents at the ride...there was also comments that if a larger person does manage to fit in they shoould not be allowed to sit next to a smaller this involes moving lots of people around which annoys the attendents and leads to slacking....which is probally what happened on perious....someone tell the fat people tp lay off the doughnuts.....
Monday, April 8, 2002 7:41 AM
Coaster Dad 64...I think it's a measure of one's girth rather than one's weight. *** This post was edited by coasterfreaky on 4/8/2002. ***
Monday, April 8, 2002 7:43 AM

Alas NoClueWhy, if it were merely doughnuts, we wouldn't have this issue. The US and most of the western world, has moved from an industry based economy to a service based economy. Where your average Homer would get his exercise working on the line in a factory, now his only exercise is the walk from the cubical to the snack machine. As for annoying the ride ops, get over it, or get a new job. Working day-to-day, face-to-face with people is not an easy task for some folks. Be thankful you are at a point in your life where you can work at an amusement park, the cubical could be calling you sooner than you think.

JimF, I agree with your ADA comment. "Reasonable" is the key. The parks, the general public, and the government need to be reasonable. Oh wait, did I just suggest that the general public and the government act reasonably? I need to get out of my cubical and have a doughnut.

****** Sometimes us "lurkers" continue to speak ******

Monday, April 8, 2002 8:02 AM
Why don't they just have a booth type thing at the entrance with a sign saying you must be able to fit into it to be able to ride. Keeps employees from having to be involved as much. And no guessing about it. No weight requirement. How's that any different from height requirements?
Monday, April 8, 2002 8:24 AM

Raptor Pilot,

While that sounds like it may be a good idea, I have seen a few instances where larger people simply don't want to try out a 'test seat' because they don't want to be embarassed in front of others when it doesn't close, or they simply don't want to acknowledge they are large among other reasons.

There was a man at PKI last week standing behind me while in line for Tomb Raider. He was short, but very large. He did glance down at the test seats but he didn't bother trying them out. When we boarded the actual ride, it took some effort for him to get secure, but he just made it and was able to ride.

I do feel for those folks that are too large to ride certain rides, but at the same time, I believe that if parks need to have a definite size cut-off for rides, it needs to be strictly enforced before getting in line. I have seen one instance where a man was not allowed to ride Drop Zone because the seat belt would not fasten, then threw a fit complaining that the crew was not treating him fair because he was large.

I think the bottom line is if a park has rules for smaller guests, they need to have a same set of standards for larger guests who obviously won't be able to ride in the first place. In the end, it is more safe for everyone involved.


Monday, April 8, 2002 8:29 AM

I somewhat agree with Raptor Pilot, it concerns me that the ride op (18 years old and, at some parks apparently, not fully fluent in English) is the one placed with the responsibility to say yes or no. Isn't that what happened in California?

However, I have asserted before that the "test restraint" should not be in view of the general public. Though I don't personally have an issue, if I was larger I wouldn't like to be put on display at the front of the line. Put it back behind the scenes somewhere.

By the way, I am color blind and the park maps are color coded. I smell a lawsuit coming on!

Monday, April 8, 2002 8:48 AM

hmmm...sounds like we'll have a park called "Six Flags for the BIG and TALL" To me, this is a crazy arguement. Amusement Parks are private businesses, so I believe they have the right to turn away people who jeopardize ride safety.

Monday, April 8, 2002 9:03 AM
A show I saw the other night said that 1 in 5 Americans can be categorized as obese. Clearly that means a large portion of the population may not be able to get on some rides. Either America needs to lose weight, or they need to redesign the seats.
The word "definitely" is definitely the most misspelled word on the buzz.
Monday, April 8, 2002 9:05 AM
The way the article sounds if you are slightly overweight then you are ok. I mean Homer Simpson should still be able to ride, but if you are EXTREMELY overweight. (Example 6'0 450 lbs.) Then you are out of luck. I can fit into the reagular restraints with some effort (not a whole lot) and the big boy restraints are almost a little too big for myself. If the parks are not careful then there will more than likely be a HUGE class action law suit against them. I think that Cedar Fairs needs to address this issue with a little more senstivity than they are. The death on the plunge was tragic, but she had no business being in there if she was 300 lbs. I don't mean to sound rude but 300 lbs for a woman is EXTREME! Considering the average height for a woman. Now if she was Chyna or some bodybuilder 300lbs isn't that much, they still can fit into clothes off the racks. This issue is going to be extremely interesting to watch. Cedar Fair might be taking a step in the right direction , but then again they might not be.


Monday, April 8, 2002 9:12 AM
Perhaps they could put all the test seats in one enclosed room so they can see which coasters they are able to ride, similar to the height checking station at Kennywood and other parks. This could save some embarassment and some walking as well.

Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
"If you want to follow me, you've got to play pinball."

Monday, April 8, 2002 9:18 AM

The rule of thumb has always been that if you can be accomdated by the ride, meaning that safety devices all function as intended, you don't have any limbs hanging out the side of the car, etc, then you can ride.

I think what is happening here, is not a change of park policty so much as the park is doing a communications campaign in an attempt to try warn people before it becomes an issue. Of course the problem with commmunications campagins is that generally the targeted person is the most likely to ignore them, or refuse to acknowledge that they fit the cateogry.


David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

Monday, April 8, 2002 9:23 AM

As stated by so many, it is more a question of size and shape rather than weight.

For instance... let's take a ride that has a minium height requirement of 52" (that's 4foot 4inches). It can accomodate riders up to 6'4" inches (because of OTSRs). Now we take a person who weighs 201 lbs and is "solid muscle" and is 6'4". We take another person who weighs 199 lbs, is 4'4" tall and who spends his entire day in front of the TV. Which one weighs less? Which one weighs more? Which one do you think will be better able to fit into a ride seat?


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