my 2c on the seatbelt issue

Saturday, May 29, 2004 12:13 AM
Ok, First off, let me start by saying I am 6 ft, 265 lbs. That out of the way, I gotta vent.

This seatbelt thing is RIDICULOUS. This is just like Janet Jacksons nipplegate from earlier this year. They are making WAY to big a deal over nothing. Look at the facts:

Yes, a man was killed. God bless his family, I feel bad for them, but he is gone.

It has been reported that it was indeed the RIDE-OPS fault. Not only was he not able to button the seatbelt securely, but he had Cerabral Palsy. He was short and round. They did not secure him in propperly. Why are they now SHORTNING the belts? IT WAS OPERATOR ERROR!! I have rode MF over 100 times since its opening in 2000. I have rode other Intamin coasters as well, but not the Superman in question. At my size, I have NEVER ONCE felt unsafe riding a coaster. I have a friend who is 4'11" and 95 pounds. I would be more worried about her safety than mine! For my size, I am very flexible, and very adjile. There is no way in blue hell I could get out of those restraints in case of an emergancy. Bottom line is, I am not going anywhere!

What is worse, is when I go to Magnum. The seatbelt on that thing could go around two 450 lb people! It is HUGE!!! I know it is a different manufacturer, and I know it isnt as high, but gosh darnit.... Just because a person with CP (who should have never been on the coaster in the first place) and PROVEN OPERATOR ERROR, Many people have to suffer. It is a boatload of crap! There was ABSOLUTLY nothing wrong with the restraints the way they were. Intamin's name should be dropped from the lawsuit. The rider, as well as the operators of Six Flags New England are to blame. I have high blood pressure, and it is getting higer as I write this, but gosh darn, fine the park and those responsible, and leave well enough alone! It wasnt broke, so DONT FIX IT!!!!!!!

OT

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 1:03 AM
Chalk it up to liability concerns...

Just imagine what it would be like if a similar accident ocurred on the ride again...wouldn't people be asking why the restraints weren't modified in the first place?

I'm actually more surprised there isn't more backlash over the similar accidents on other Intamin T-Bar restraint rides...

Yea, it most definitely sucks for a lot of people, but what's done is done, and it's gonna be pretty freakin' hard to change back now.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 1:39 AM
Wrong: CP, SF and any other operator that runs an Intamin mega coaster in the US are going to demand a new set of trains to accomidate a larger portion (no pun intended) of the population if it hurts there bottom line.

The way that happens is bad word of mouth, and its allready started within a few years we will see a change. Just look at what Premier did once they stopped selling their LIM coasters due to bad word of mouth. 1EyedJack write a letter to CP, you may only get a form letter back in return but believe me if they get enough things will change.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:34 AM

1EyedJack said:
It has been reported that it was indeed the RIDE-OPS fault.

Wrong. The report blamed four things: the ride operators, the man's condition, the man's size, and the existing restraint system. The restraint system was as much at fault as the ride ops.

To quote the report, the restraint system would "enable people of unique size to enter the ride. This creates an opportunity for patrons, who may have a body size and type that is incompatible with the 'T' bar restraint to ride the coaster, unaware of the potential hazard."

I'm tired of enthusiasts complaining about these changes and completely ignoring the fact that there absolutely was a problem with the restraint set-up. When you run a park, you can decide what's ridiculous.

-Nate

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 8:44 AM
what ever happened to personal responsibility and RIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK??

i totally understand the "ride at your won risk" thing...

what part of that dont OTHERS understand??

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 9:21 AM
The 'YOUR OWN RISK' part of that. :)
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Saturday, May 29, 2004 12:50 PM
I am 6'3" and 250 pounds. I have probably ridden MF about 50-75 times or more since opening (maybe less).

I am not upset by this decision at all. MF was my favorite coaster but I refer to the cliche, "Life is not fair."

Exactly what is the reason for getting upset? If the ride manufacturer states that the rides should have new restrictions for rider safet, then go for it. As a business person, I believe it is in the best interest of the park to have these rules. More power to them for enforcing these policies, rather then letting people slip past the rules.

I can no longer ride my favorite coaster, maybe I should throw a tantrum like a 5 year old.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:24 PM
I applaud the new restraints, sure its awful that people who really enjoyed the ride most likely will not be able to ride it, but that gives some people all the more reason to trim down right?
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Saturday, May 29, 2004 5:16 PM
First of all, I'll get this out of the way; I'm 5'8", and weigh 160lbs., so I may be in a very bad place to give my two cents. Anyway, I recently showed a group picture of a bunch of enthusiasts to my sister (I was pointing out a friend of mine) and her comment was "They don't look like they're in very good shape". She's not an enthusiast (although she's been to plenty of parks with me), but her candor said it all. I think getting angry with the park is the wrong path to take.

I know of an enthusiast friend of mine who lost so much weight between christmastime and April at PKD, that I asked him where the rest of him went. I asked him how he did it, and he said diet and excercise.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 7:42 PM
I hope one of these days they start building coasters designed to accommodate only larger riders - if you're smaller or too thin you will be turned away - THEN we'll see how all the fat-bashers feel! It's EASY to pontificate to overweight people when you've never had a weight or metabolic problem a day in your life! SURE it's a good thing to lose weight if you're overweight, which I am, but for many of us it is a very long, very difficult process; it does NOT happen overnight. I pretty much consider most of the coaster season a loss for me this year; so yes, this is a very important issue for many of us larger enthusiasts. The new restraint system on S:ROS at SFNE, unveiled this weekend, looks horribly confining and uncomfortable, and I personally think what we have here is overkill. I have ridden that coaster dozens of times in recent years and not ONCE did I ever feel unsafe or feel that I was improperly restrained. The modifications were totally unnecessary, in my opinion; they had to do something to appease the state of Mass. and the family of the deceased, I feel; and by doing so, it also takes attention away from the fact that ride attendant failure was cited by the safety report. (SFNE vigorously denies this claim of the state - big surprise! -Many things were cited by that safety report, but then again they HAD to blame something/someone, didn't they?) Sure, the new restraints won't be too terribly uncomfortable for 14 y/o thin-as-a-rail riders, but the fact is also that reports coming from park-goers today say that the ride ops on S:ROS are seriously stapling EVERYONE and that there is, for all intents and purposes, no airtime to be had anymore, which is a great tragedy for a ride this great.

I personally am very very glad I got to repeatedly ride SFNE's S:ROS in years past, in its glory days; I firmly believe that it was the greatest steel coaster even designed & built. But, sadly, those glory days seem now to be a thing of the past....

The parks are indeed going to feel it in their bottom line, and are going to have to start replacing existing trains with trains that will effectively and easily and more realistically address the true size of the average American population. This is not an issue that larger coaster enthusiasts will allow to just "go away."

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 8:46 PM
I know it sucks, but you have 3 options (and one more I do not endorse). None of these are ideal.

1. Quit going to the parks that have these types of rides and policies. Inform the park about the reason you are doing this. If there are enough people affected then the parks will fix the problem over time. Of course I've been boycotting Wallmart for about 8 years (long story) and I'm quite sure they don't miss me! :-)

2. Lose weight. I'm sure it is tough. But some good eating habits and exercise work for 99.9% of the cases. Maybe this will provide the motivation some people need.

3. Continue going to parks and try to have fun anyways.

P.S. A possible 4th option (that I certainly do not endorse) that is so often used these days is the old lawsuit. I'm sure there is a lawyer out there somewhere that can find a descrimination issue with this. I'm not sure the case would win in most cases, but it only takes one liberal judge at the right time/place and you've won yourself some money and in the process you will help change the industry (we could argue if the change is for the better or the worse).

Does anybody have any idea how many people are being affected? I thought I saw a post earlier that said about one person in every train for MF was being turned away. I cannot believe that it is actually this bad and have not seen this with my own eyes. However, if it is this bad, those trains WILL be retrofitted soon. This is just good business practice.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 9:38 PM

1. Quit going to the parks that have these types of rides and policies. Inform the park about the reason you are doing this. If there are enough people affected then the parks will fix the problem over time. Of course I've been boycotting Wallmart for about 8 years (long story) and I'm quite sure they don't miss me! :-)

2. Lose weight. I'm sure it is tough. But some good eating habits and exercise work for 99.9% of the cases. Maybe this will provide the motivation some people need.

3. Continue going to parks and try to have fun anyways.


Well I certainly don't intend to stop going to the parks completely, although I will frequent those parks that do not discriminate against a large percentage of their guests, allegedly in the name of safety - such as Lake Compounce, Great Escape, Knoebel's, etc. I am locked into a SF season pass this year, but do not intend to frequent SFNE as much as last year, because I cannot ride S:ROS now. Even Batman: Dark Knight I was always able to ride in the front seat, but this year was about 1/4 inch too big for it-and that ride just isn't the same in the bigboy seats further back.

As for losing weight I *do* intend to do this, but it will take me many many months to get to where I would be within the parameters set forth by the new S:ROS restraint system, so basically the entire northern coaster season. I think you must be on guard, too, about assuming that the answer is so generally good eating habits and exercise - that is simply NOT the case. Metabolic slowdown is a huge hindrance for those of us 40+.

As for the lawsuit option, I don't much like people who file lawsuits left and right over things, so I don't envision myself doing that. But my hope is that my voice, joined with the voices of a myriad of other larger park guests, will bring change in the future. I have read that at least one, and as many as FIVE, were being turned away on MF these days at Cedar Point, and those types of numbers will not be silent, I guarantee you that. Let's hope this needless paranoia, no doubt fueled by the parks' insurance companies, will be quelled in the not-too-distant future by a more sensible approach, and that our passion for coasters will not remain forever unfulfilled.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004 11:53 PM
Hey, I have an idea!! Instead of dealing with ride motifications designed to keep YOU from getting YOURSELF KILLED, I'll hold a candle lit seance in my basement and we can all just cry...
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Sunday, May 30, 2004 12:26 AM
I feel for you guys...

I would hate to be turned away from one of my favorite coasters for any reason. I imagine that these modifications to Millennium Force and the S:ROS coasters are just a quick fix... basically to keep the rides running while an acceptable, long-term solution can be found.

This is purely speculation, but I imagine that the trains on these coasters will each be receiving a car with a specially designed "Big Boy" seat. It will be far less expensive than replacing the entire train, and will still permit larger patrons to experience their favorite coasters. As CoasterfanVT mentioned, some B&M coasters already have this feature (Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, for example), so it seems logical that a similar modification could be done to these Intamin cars. It might not allow larger people to pick the seat they want, but at least they'll get to ride.

I'm about 5'10" and between 150-155lbs, so I realize that this doesn't affect me, but if I were a larger person, I would certainly want to make sure that every precaution was taken to ensure my safety. No ride - no matter how thrilling - is worth risking one's life over. Yes, the new seat-belt position might seem a bit over cautious, but as Coasterdude318 pointed out, the existing restraint system was indeed one of the factors in the tragedy at SFNE.

It disappoints me to think that some of my friends or family members might be turned away if they join me on my Cedar Point trip this year, but I can't argue with the decision to enforce the precautions. I wouldn't want one of my loved ones ride if it appeared that there might be the slightest chance that they wouldn't be safely restrained.

Yes... it's unfortunate. Yes... it seems unfair. But there is no easy solution from a public relations standpoint. If Cedar Fair or Six Flags ignored Intamin's warnings regarding rider size and another similar incident occurred, the general public would be outraged that something hadn't been done to ensure the safety of the park's patrons. I suppose they feel that upsetting some people temporarily is a lot better than having to deal with the negative publicity of having another person die on one of their most popular rides.

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Sunday, May 30, 2004 1:20 AM

Yes, the new seat-belt position might seem a bit over cautious, but as Coasterdude318 pointed out, the existing restraint system was indeed one of the factors in the tragedy at SFNE

I most definitely do NOT agree with Coasterdude318 on this point. Despite what the Safety Board report said in Massachusetts, there was never a d*mn thing wrong with the original restraint system. I have ridden S:ROS at SFNE many dozens of times as a bigger rider and never once did I ever even BEGIN to feel as though I were unsafe or coming off the ride. The seatbelt properly fastened and tightened around me, and lapbar locked down on me, there was NO WAY I could have come off that ride. I'm convinced, from what I've read, that Mr. Mordarsky's restraints were *not* properly locked down around him - otherwise the lady in back of him and the gentleman next to him on the ride would have not had to frantically try to hold his body in the car.

Now, I am not among the biggest riders that have ever ridden S:ROS, but I am heavyset - I will give Coasterdude318 that if Mr. Mordarsky did not fit properly into the restraints he should not have ridden, but THAT is a ride attendant issue, *not* a restraint issue. What SFNE is effectively saying with their new modifications is that they cannot leave the question of whether a guest will ride or not up to the ride ops, so therefore they have installed a "restraint for dummies" type system where no fine judgments will have to be rendered. All that is now required is the no-brainer of whether the new lap restraint bar extensions fit the rider's legs and whether the additional belt extension on the lapbar clicks into position.

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Sunday, May 30, 2004 2:36 AM

CoasterFanVt2003 said:
I hope one of these days they start building coasters designed to accommodate only larger riders - if you're smaller or too thin you will be turned away - THEN we'll see how all the fat-bashers feel!

Never happen for one reason -- the young teen crowd. You know, the ones who are tall enough to make all the height requirements, but not full-sized adults? They come in with allowance money, or dragging their parents along. That's a HUGE market for the parks, far more so than a few adults (even today).

While I truly DO understand how difficult it is for some people to lose weight, the fact remains that the manufacturers have to design their rides to accomodate the largest possible subset of the parkgoers, and that HAS to include at least a portion of the non-adults. Even in this day of super-sized America, there's still more money to be made by making sure you don't go too far in the "you're not large enough to ride this" direction...

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Sunday, May 30, 2004 2:52 AM
Just my quick 2cents...just because you thought you felt safe doesn't mean that the restraint system was in-fact safe. The fact of the matter is that there was too much room for ride-op error, and intamin modifying the seats was their way of correcting...you may not think that's fair...but there's nothing you can do about it...so deal with it
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Sunday, May 30, 2004 7:26 AM
Why is the seatbelt on Magnum so gosh darn big? Is that one going to be chopped next? How about Gemini? There is no questions the restraints on Millie were much more secure BEFORE the mod than Magnum EVER was.

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Sunday, May 30, 2004 7:41 AM
Well roosel, I couldn't disagree more - 4 years of operation with not a single guest coming off S:ROS does not say "unsafe" to me. Yes, I will give you that perhpaps the T-bar restraint system was not geared toward very large people, but the fact of the matter is that MANY very heavy people rode S:ROS over the years and not one of them came flying off. I still maintain that if the restraints (both seatbelt and lapbar) had been had been tightened, to whatever degree was possible in Mr. Mordarsky's case, there would have been no accident. Having ridden the ride so many times, I honestly do not see how anyone could fly off that ride unless the seatbelt were very loose and the lapbar not tight against his gut. I even rode it once where the seatbelt came unbuckled during the ride (much more likely to happen now with the new flip-top seatbelts), and I still didn't even BEGIN to feel as though I were exiting the ride - the T-bar, properly tightened against my gut (yes, my gut, not my lap) held me in perfectly. Now, I wasn't there, of course, on the day of the accident, but the authorities have 64 statements from people who *were* there, including those on the train, and the consensus was that the ride attendants simply did not check the integrity of the restraints on the left side of the train after the lapbar release to move a passenger- the passengers had to secure themselves without any ride attendant verification. I know Six Flags doesn't want to focus on this, but it seems to me the ride attendants have to bear some responsibility in all of this.

It's all a moot point now, I guess, though - I read on another board that someone went up to the park yesterday and asked an employee near the test seat if the new restraints killed the airtime, and the answer was a resounding YES.

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Sunday, May 30, 2004 9:30 AM
yawn
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