New Jersey recommends dual-occupancy, height requirement for Ferris wheels

Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:19 PM | Contributed by Jeff

New Jersey tightened regulations Monday for children riding Ferris wheels at amusement piers and theme parks after the fatal fall of an 11-year-old Pleasantville girl from the Giant Wheel at Morey's Piers during a June 3 school trip. Investigators found that Abiah Jones may have been kneeling or standing on the seat or may have leaned too far out of the gondola-style ride when she plunged to her death.

Read more from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:28 PM

So, if I'm reading this right, all Ferris Wheels in Jersey now require at least 2 passengers. So what's the reasoning for an adult not being able to ride by themselves. I often travel by myself. I guess I won't be riding many Ferris Wheels in Jersey now.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:33 PM

Chance made no single riders on their ferris wheels a rule a few years ago. There was also a rule that seemed hard to enforce but I can't recall what it was.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:35 PM

The thing about this story is that a girl died, and that's sad and horrible. In light of that, it's difficult for anyone to stand up and say, "A human being did something they shouldn't have, and unfortunately paid with her life." At this point, no one is willing to say that, and understandably so.

But leaning out of a tall structure certainly falls in the category of dangerous things that one shouldn't do, and that presumably an 11-year-old would understand. What does it say that we have to put high fences on highway overpasses and label coffee as "hot?" While you can't trivialize the death of a child, I don't think you can ignore that there's a place for personal responsibility.

By the way, the article is also ambiguous, because it says the state is making a "recommendation," then refers to it as a "regulation." So which is it?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:39 PM

Jason Hammond said:
So, if I'm reading this right, all Ferris Wheels in Jersey now require at least 2 passengers. So what's the reasoning for an adult not being able to ride by themselves. I often travel by myself. I guess I won't be riding many Ferris Wheels in Jersey now.


I'm with you, Jason. I'm usually by myself at parks. Although I have no particular affinity for Ferris Wheels, I will ride them on occasion. Bad enough I can't ride a (bleeping) Scrambler or Zipper by this. At least if I'm paired up with another single on those rides, it's not that long a cycle, and you won't feel obligated to make're moving too much. On a Ferris Wheel, you'll spend a longer time with that person, and it might be awkward for some.

Then there's the back seat on Thunderbolt at Kennywood...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:40 PM

Trying to recall where it was...Idlewild I think. I had to wait by the ride with an op while another op actually found another "single rider" who had wanted to ride but was informed of the policy and told she'd have to find another rider.

Well worth it, I got some nice pictures from up there...but a weird rule nonetheless. IIRC, that was an Eli wheel.

Last edited by rollergator, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:40 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 1:25 PM

I usually go to my 2 home parks alone and I already can't ride Dorney's wheel as a single rider, now I won't be able to ride the Big Wheel at Great Adventure either. That ride is impossible to fall out of unless you pushed open the doors since there are bars running up and down the entire cabin.

The other problem I have is that if everytime a single rider does something wrong and injures or kills themself are they going to stop allowing single riders on that ride too?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 1:34 PM

I seem to remember the Idlewild Ferris Wheel not allowing single riders, Gator.

Mike, I hate it that we live in a world where some people might find it awkward to talk to a stranger for a few minutes. I. for one, enjoy meeting new people, talking for them for a few minutes, and then going about my life.

I support this recommendation / regulation / rule, or whatever it is. It's a good idea to have a buddy in the pool with you, so why not on a Ferris Wheel?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 1:37 PM

The (now defunct) Mad Mouse at Quassy and Jet Star at Lagoon both have a no single rider rule. Getting those credits was akward :)

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 1:37 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:00 PM

^Jet Star at Lagoon required a FULL train when I was there....had to find a party of...five I think. Would have LOVED to have gotten another ride (totally empty park), but the family that "adopted" me wanted to move along. Might be the only Anton I've gotten only one lap on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:34 PM

LostKause said:
Mike, I hate it that we live in a world where some people might find it awkward to talk to a stranger for a few minutes. I. for one, enjoy meeting new people, talking for them for a few minutes, and then going about my life.


I do too, especially at parks. But many would be uncomfortable, I'm sure, in a situation where you're sitting at the top of a Ferris Wheel with someone you don't know, and neither person is initiating a conversation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:49 PM

I'd feel more uncomfortable in a Scrambler or a Zipper being squished up against a total stranger.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:50 PM

^It is really strange. Same thing with 'communicating' to others about not line jumping. I remember other single riders being happy to ride together "have you been on this?" - small little talk or whatever.

In the past 10 or so years, that general friendliness has totally fallen off. Even at coaster events, I was incredibly surprised by that. 2 consecutive single riders in the front seat of a coaster at a special event. You gotta be kidding me?

When I ask someone if it's ok if I ride with them, sometimes I get a shocked look, like I just scared the hell outta them. Or, they are so confused, they don't know what to do! I did get a very uncomfortable 'NO' once from some chick on American Eagle (trust me, honey, you have nothing to worry about!). Either way, it's a sign of the times - we live on computers, miles apart, texting, etc. and consider that communication. Technology is great, but being able to talk to another human is priceless.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:22 PM

If a single rider would load in front of me on a coaster, I might ask if they mind if I rode next to them or I might wait for the next train, depending on the situation (close to closing and trying to get in as many laps as I can, just not wanting to wait, etc). If I am seated, as a single rider, I always move to the seat farthest from the loading area, leaving the seat next to the loading area open. If someone would ask if they can ride, I would say "okay"... but I wouldn't go out of my way to invite them either. Now on the big four across B&M's, for what ever reason, as a single rider, I don't have any problem either just boarding next to someone or if someone boarded next to me with or with out asking... I don't even expect it on them.

I guess it is just something about the close "cozy" space of a two seat coaster, same as the close "cozy" space with flat rides.

Last edited by SLFAKE, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:23 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 5:28 PM

I often, no, lets say most often, find myself in the single rider category and have had the same disheartening experiences. I am guilty, though, of feeling slightly irritated when another single rider another plops down in the seat next to me, so there ya go. Rides where you sit arm to arm, or god forbid tandem style, are just a little too close into the personal space for me to be sharing it with a stranger.

As far as ferris wheels go, and if this has already been brought up somewhere I apologize, didn't Chance issue some edict a while back barring single riders from any of their rides anywhere? Due to an accident, or suicide, or something. I remembered about it when I was told I couldn't ride the wheel at the Florida State Fair, and I'd have to wait for another single (it was an empty midway) or ride with a carnie. (After careful consideration of the possibilities the carnie won that toss-up.)

The worst solo day EVER for me was at LaRonde. Not so much for the ridership policies, most of that was fine, but because I don't know a lick of French! I'm not a world traveler, and it never occured to me that I would be spending the day not speaking to, or understanding a single person there. Hell, I couldn't even engage in one of my favorite single-rider pasttimes - eavesdropping in line! And were they all talking about me? Probably. I hated it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 6:07 PM

Zut alors!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 7:33 PM

Oui, what he ^ said.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 7:42 PM

I lol'ed at "tandem style", RCMAC. I found myself awkwardly riding with a ten-year-old who I didn't know, tandem style, on the (now removed) Enterprise at Lakemont Park fifteen years or so ago, at his mothers insistence.

I felt weird at first, but he was just so darned happy about the ride, it didn't bother me after a few up-side-down flips. His awesome Big Bad Wolf t-shirt helped me to relate to him a little bit too.


I recall riding the cow themed breakdance at SFGAdv once (the only time I ever found it to be open) with another single rider. She was a really big black lady, about 30-years-old, with pink hair, matching long fake fingernails, and a face thick with makeup. I was wearing a Megadeth t-shirt, torn jeans, shaggy blue hair, black short nails, and a chain wallet. A little awkward at first, but her laugh was so contagious, she made it one of the most memorable flat ride experiences of my life. We were kind of a good match-up, now that I think about it. :)


I don't ever remember getting on a sky lift with strangers; always alone. That would probably be more awkward to some people because of the slow pace and long length of the ride, much like a Ferris Wheel.

...And now I get Mikes post about awkwardness on a Ferris Wheel much better than before.

- Edited to add black short nails, and the letter "s".

Last edited by LostKause, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 7:44 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:26 PM

I can remember long time ago people getting on the sky tram or the big ferris wheel at SFGADV and after the ride was over having a severe case of the munchies...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 11:09 PM

I thought that only happened after a ride on the Frontier Lift! ;)

I laughed at your story, Travis, and I have an Enterprise story as well. Back to the Florida Fair, where they had a beautiful Enterprise that I had to try, but due to their no single rider policy they led me to a car that already had a tall, lanky, kinda greasy teenager sitting in it. I looked at him, he looked at me and guess what? We BOTH left! I was cracking up, but I never did get my ride.

One of my best single rider experiences happened last summer when I was at Six Flags America. I was next for the front seat on Wild One and a little girl with Downs Syndrome (Hey, Carmen!) tapped me on the shoulder and asked if she could get in with me. We had a great ride, she was a real pro, (although she insisted on being last in AND first out of the seat- that was kinda awkward...) Anyway, after the ride she took me over to her teacher who as it turned out brought Carmen to the park just about every day after school. So with teacher's permission off we went for more rides. Carmen took me on the coaster again, the drop tower, the teacups, and their cow-print Breakdance where I was grateful to have such a fun partner. We finally parted ways with a big hug, but later I saw Carmen at Mr Six's Dance Party, and she was having a ball, dancing her butt off with all the kids on the street. My new friend really made my day, I think of her often, and I hope she's having just as much fun this summer at the park.


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