A Weatherford man is suing Six Flags Entertainment Corp. in Dallas federal court, claiming the Grand Prairie-based amusement-park operator violated the Americans With Disabilities Act last summer when it refused to let him ride the Aquaman Splashdown at Six Flags Over Texas because he has no hands.
Read more from The Dallas News.
I think the defense of this is pretty straightforward. They should have included the ride in their list of attractions that require at least one hand, but to suggest that it doesn't account for whether or not someone is holding on is too narrow of a view. What about having to evac the ride if it shuts down? In that case, can you climb out and hold on to handrails? What if a restraint were to fail? It seems like there are a lot of different things to consider, and I think the park should be able to decide how much risk it's comfortable in taking on. I largely agree with the ADA, but some activities will always have certain constraints. Would he sue an FEC because they wouldn't let him climb a climbing wall? I realize that might be pushing the limits of a fair comparison, but where do you draw the line?
Allowing cases like this to proceed, or even worse, win....sends a really bad message that could lead to more injuries and even deaths. I'm certainly not unsympathetic (and I have to admit feeling silly complaining about wearing my glasses at Knotts)....but safety HAS to be priority one.
If it were my park, I'd way rather deal with lawsuits like this one than those where someone WAS permitted to ride (Mr. Mordarsky - sp?) and there were tragic results.
I remember having a guest when I worked at an amusement park that was missing her hands and part of her legs. (She appeared to be a burn victim). I also remember asking if she was able to hold on, per the ride's safety policy. She was able to hold on, so she got to ride.
I am not a lawyer, but I think this person may have a case. In my non-expert personal opinion, he clearly does have the ability to hold on and in the event of an evacuation, safely exit the ride vehicle. I am curious if the expert witnesses at trial will agree.
What gets me is this is one of those "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations. If you let this person get on a ride and they get flung out, the Park will get sued, for not providing for that rider's safety but if the park denies them a ride for their safety, they still end up getting sued, this time for discrimination.
^One way Six Flags can remedy the "damned if you do damned if you don't" situation is to just remove all of their mechanical rides. They seem to be causing all these legal problems...
We've done this discussion before, and it always seems to me that the enthusiast community is much more logical about it than many people out there. There is a reason these policies are put into place. There are bad things that can happen if these policies do not get enforced. Does it suck that these people are denied rides when nothing probably would happen? Yes, but unfortunately, as Jeff said, not every activity is for everyone.
Every time I talk about this, I always feel like I'm waiting to get my legs or arms lopped off, and then I MYSELF would not be able to ride rides. The thought is a real bummer, so it is not that I'm unsympathetic. I think it would be embarrassing and somewhat hurtful to be turned away for a ride I felt I was perfectly capable of handling, but that's the thing: you may THINK you're capable of safe riding on a ride, but you might not be as safe as you believe. The parks are doing their best to ensure tragedy does not occur. People need to consider this.
"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band
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