"Opening Restraints" Phenomenon

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:04 PM
Fun's avatar We've all heard the stories- Someone's harness or bar opens after it has left the station. With today's modern coasters and safety mechanisms however, these reported incidents seem astronomically improbable. Sure, we've all had been on a ride when the harness clicked into a different position, giving the impression that the device was not locked. That is not what I am referring to. There are many who claim to have had the safety harness open up mid ride. So many, that I wanted to bring this subject up.

-Have you ever had your bar come up, or personally witnessed it happen in another seat?

-Do you know someone who has claimed to of had this happen?

-What possible explanations can you think of that a restraint would open mid-ride?

I'll throw this last bit into the mix. It's a quote from Rideaccidents.com, regarding the 1999 death of a young boy riding Drop Zone.

"(Tuesday, August 24, 1999) - A man who witnessed Sunday's accident at Paramount's Great America theme park told the San Francisco Chronicle that the 12-year-old boy who was killed after falling out of the Drop Zone thrill ride struggled to stay inside the car after his shoulder harness flew open during his ride. The witness claims that the harness opened as the boy's car was being stopped by the ride's braking system, and that he saw the child struggle to remain secured in his seat.

Another witness, who was riding next to the victim, claims that no one checked to make sure the shoulder harnesses had been secured. He, too, says that the boy fell out as the brakes began to bring the car to a stop."

What can possibly explain this phenomenon? *** Edited 9/28/2006 12:05:55 AM UTC by Fun***

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:08 PM
It says that "no one checked to make sure the shoulder harness had been secured." Sounds to me like it was never secured in the first place, therefore eliminating your above example as an example of an incident where the restraints came up after they were locked.

Haha no I'm not giving Patrick the finger

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:22 PM
I've personally had PTC ratching lapbars on several coasters release durring the ride. I have also witnessed it on several occations with my co rider. These coasters include. Blue Streak (CP) Three times either I or my brother. Thunder Run SFKK twice on my brother, once on me. Wildcat at Hershey Twice in the same day on me. I also personally once seen a single possition lapbar on a PTC (Cornball express come open on a couple friends.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:24 PM
Fun's avatar Those Intamin restraints are powered restraints anyway- they don't unlock unless they are powered. If the car is up, the harnesses (by design) have to be locked.

I really don't think checking that harness would have made a difference, especially since it was found to be in working order. I guess we'll never really know, but it would be reasonable to assume that if the harness was working all day, and was working immediately after the accident occured, it probably was secured when it left.

*** Edited 9/28/2006 12:29:27 AM UTC by Fun***

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:48 PM
I've had restraints act up before, but never fully release.

I have heard that on the PTC Junior trains, the bars can pop open.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:50 PM
Ive had a PTC lapbar disengage on me in the middle of SFGAm's Viper (on a turn thank god) and my dad has had it disengage of the Texas Giant on an airtime hill (scared the crap out of him.) I imagine that something hit the bar underneath the track that disengages the system at the percise spot to pop open the restraint. I imagine this could happen on an old Arrow too, if something hit those toe bar releases on the trains (allthough since the horse collars dont pop up people must not notice it as often as a PTC.)

2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:12 PM
Back when SFA was Adventure World and Wild One had buzzbars, my dad and I hit the bar on a bunny hill and it popped open. We both had our hands up and we brought them down really fast together, grabbed the bar, and slammed it shut and it locked again.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:54 PM
^ I actually had the opposite happen on Wild One--the bar wouldn't unlock when we were in the station.

As for the PTC bars opening, not sure how that would happen on the ratcheting versions, as the releases are on the sides of the cars.

The description of the Drop Zone incident doesn't make complete sense. If anything, when the cars are slowing down in the brakes, riders are being forced into their seats by the G-force, and the restraints are being forced down, as well. Unless, of course, the kid was outside of the seat when the thing was falling, and he couldn't hold on when it slowed.

I had read that the child was mentally and/or physically handicapped and that he may have freaked out when on the ride, and he may have actually tried to get out of the harness, but that could just be hearsay.

coastin' since 1985

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 10:40 PM
Now I've personally had two incidents on ME at SFA where the harness did open up mid ride a couple years back,now as a result I don't ride the orange train<originally the blue one> as that is the train in which the two incidents occurred.The second time it happened the restraint opened all the way til the belt caught it & I spent the entire ride holding on for dear life to the little hand rail things on the side of the seat.

I had a similar incident on the yellow train back on labor day where the restraint wouldn't lock tight enough no matter how much I pulled it prior to dispatching...fortunately it ratcheted down while on the lift though.

As for the DZ incident in 99,I don't see how the ride could even be dispatched without first pressing the "section ready" button on the panel in front of the seating area & only an op checking restraints can do that so the ride must've been properly checked prior to it being sent up before the accident.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 10:41 PM
kpjb's avatar

Fun said:
Those Intamin restraints are powered restraints anyway- they don't unlock unless they are powered. If the car is up, the harnesses (by design) have to be locked.

I really don't think checking that harness would have made a difference, especially since it was found to be in working order. I guess we'll never really know, but it would be reasonable to assume that if the harness was working all day, and was working immediately after the accident occured, it probably was secured when it left.

Yes, but there's a manual override that has no feedback to the computer control system. I'm in no way saying that it was the cause, but it's possible, and in that case checking the bars certainly would have shown that it wasn't locked.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 10:57 PM
Fun's avatar Could static electricity play a role in the cause of "power-release" restraints opening? Is it too far fetched for a buildup of static electricity to momentarily power a restraint unlocked?

I've heard from a few seperate riders that their B&M harness opened. Any takers on this one? *** Edited 9/28/2006 2:58:57 AM UTC by Fun***

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:42 PM
As other's said before, I've personally seen it on Thunder Run at SFKK. It was a member of this site (Frank...I forget his S/N). Wild stuff!
Real Cbuzz quote of the day - "The classes i take in collage are so mor adcanced then u could imagen. Dont talk about my emglihs" - Adamforce
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:42 PM
I read about the restraint on the Vekoma Face/OFF at Kings Island opening up as it was travelling up the second spike. The seatbelt prevented him from falling, but I'm sure the experience was down-right scary.

He apparently told the operators after the ride was over and the coaster was shut down for an hour.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I found this or who it was. I figured I'd throw it out there for the sake of discussion, though. :D

Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:29 AM
beast7369's avatar I had it happen this summer on Dragon at Rye Playland. Mid course the lap bar popped up on us. We told the ride ops and all they seemed to shrug it off.....our next ride on it they were stapling the hell out us.
Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:31 AM
I have had a B&M restraint on a BTR invert pop up to the very last notch when beginning the climb to the lift. It was quite startling as I heard a click and all of a sudden it flew up. It was never completely unlocked though and I immediately pulled it down.
Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:36 AM
I've had restraints on Chang pop open at the top of the lift hill (usually in the turnaround) several times. All I can say is thank God for the seat belt. When this has happened I pull the harness back down and of course mention it to the ride ops as soon as I get back in the station.

Have Fun

Paul Drabek

Negative-G Amusement Parks and Rollercoasters: www.Negative-G.com

Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:51 AM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Frank as in Sparky697? Was it you, Frank? ;)

I've had seatbelts pop open on me many times, but don't recall ever having the lapbar release when it wasn't supposed to. Scary stuff.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Thursday, September 28, 2006 2:13 AM
Not a coaster, but the Ranger @ SFDL a long long ago my restraint had no pressure and was in effect useless

-- also at SFDL my restraint on the "sleighride" didn't work (there were no seatbelts at the time)

// alan j

Thursday, September 28, 2006 2:34 AM
At the begining of this season, on Opening Day of Geauga Lake, I saw Double Loop have a restraint pop open. I was at the picnic pavillions, and when it hit the hill before the helix, the fourth car back had a restarint just fly up in the air flopping in the wind.

Luckily no riders were in that car, but those in the car behind it probably didn't feel very safe after seeing that. I said to myself, "now that's a great way to kick off opening day."

Thursday, September 28, 2006 8:38 AM
This may be a little off topic, but before Six Flags bought The Great Escape I was riding the Steamin' Demon in the front car with three of my friends and as it left the station my friend next to me lifted his OTSR completely over his head. It seems that the ride-op never locked our car. We were all very uncomfortable until the ride stopped at the top of the lift hill and a person climbed up to say sorry and lock the restraints on our car.

On the upside we were able to ride the coaster twice in a row. (not really worth the threat of death IMHO)


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