Ride Safety School Paper

Thursday, January 5, 2006 2:03 PM
As coaster ethusiast, we often side with the arguement on how safe amusement park rides are. Many accidents and injuries are the fault of the rider themselves.

I've been assigned to side with a topic that is often debated and of course I jumped to a amusement park topic of ride safety. But what makes this different is that I want to side with the how rides are UNSAFE. I'm doing this as a challenge and to make people aware that the danger is there.

So far I've come up with lack of government involvement and poor park inspections (due to budget cuts, etc.).

Can anybody add to the topic and help me make my paper better?

Thursday, January 5, 2006 2:34 PM
First off, It's in a parks best interest to have a safe ride and most of them do everything possible to make it that way. There are occationally broken wheels or something that may but usually don't result in injury. Most parks take pride in thier inspection and reliablilty leading to extremely safe operations.

Like you said, Probably 99.8 percent of any actual serious injury was caused by rider misconduct.

Please don't take hearsay evidence such as the ASO puts out. There are much more reliable and credible sources out there.

You state lack of inspections ect but show no proof of this to be true. Lack of Govt. Involvment. Again no proof.

Im not defending parks or rides here. But the thing is, YOU GOTTA PROVE HOW a ride is UNSAFE before you can claim it. OK?

Ridden as they are designed to be and by people qualified to ride. Im sure your findings are going to be very very slim.

Chuck, who has seen some ride operations that could lead to injury of ops and others but the rides themself are generally pretty darn safe operated and ridden as designed too.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 3:22 PM
As Chuck said don't follow what ASO says. And do not base claims on hearsay.

Even though this is probably presented as an opinion piece, you are dealing with an issue that requires solid facts. Treat this paper as you would a research paper. It will make your arguments justifiable.

A quick Google search will bring up many reliable sites that you can use. Here in Indiana, we have online databases of journals and magazines that aid in research. Ask your librarian if this is the case where you live.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 5:31 PM
To be honest, gomez, I'm not sure where you're coming from with this assignment. You're saying you "want" to show how rides are unsafe. Are you supposed to take the opposite argument to prepare this paper?

There's a big difference in saying what could possibly happen to make a ride unsafe vs. saying that rides are inherently unsafe because of factors x, y, and z. For example, you could say lack of government regulation, but then you'd need to show somewhere where there are regulations and provide statistics to show that there are fewer accidents or injuries in that location (if that's indeed true).

The other posters gave you some good advice, but I don't think you'll find many sympathetic people here agreeing with you that rides are unsafe. I'd just repeat what they said-- check your sources and make sure they're reliable and not just someone with an agenda or an ax to grind.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 7:13 PM
Thursday, January 5, 2006 7:42 PM
"lack of government involvement"

May I suggest you keep this out of your argument... I'm guessing less government involvement is as likley to lead to safer rides as is the counterargument! If facts are indeeda priority...

Thursday, January 5, 2006 11:06 PM
RGB, often times teachers will assign an arfumentative essay to be written from a viewpoint opposite of one's own to further develop critical thinking skills. I believe this paper that gomez is writing is one of those. I think that gomez wants to present facts that support the idea that amusement park rides are not run safely, not that rides are inherently unsafe. This is just my guess.
Thursday, January 5, 2006 11:45 PM
Some states are required to report accidents (like New Jersey), and there's a great site which lists them (I don't remember which). The most common way people have been hurt is on rides involving water, i.e. whitewater rapids rides and waterslides, due to no fault of their own. That would be a good area to look into.
Thursday, January 5, 2006 11:53 PM
I agree with the two other posters. Do not take anything from http://www.amusementsafety.org if you do, well you'll be quoting the public.

And the public knows nothing, so you'd be writing about nothing.

Friday, January 6, 2006 2:09 AM
Actually you'd be quoting Jason Herrera Who shows no documentation of any of his findings other than OUR SOURCES SAY ect.
Friday, January 6, 2006 2:40 AM
I don't think we say coasters are safe because we wish it were true, I think the enthusiast tends to be more informed of amusement park safety than the average guest or even politican. You are going to have a hard time with that paper if you're trying to prove amusement rides to be dangerous. Bottom line, they really are not. It's the perception of fear, and complexity that I think makes people tend or want to believe they are somehow in a way dangerous.
Friday, January 6, 2006 7:44 AM
Thanks for the information. I can give you many reasons why amusement parks are safer than almost any other form of recreation. But I'm aiming for the opposite view and that's where I need the help. Lack of gov't came from the whole Disney supervising itself with Florida not really stepping in. This isn't always a bad thing, but that's not my arguement.

Realizing this is a forum of coaster ethusisast, no one here agrees with the side I'm going for.

If I could list 20+ reason why rides and amusement parks are safe as can be, then I can list at least 3 reasons why they are not.

Friday, January 6, 2006 8:13 AM
Well list them!
Friday, January 6, 2006 8:43 AM
Well as far as my paper goes my reasons are more of examples of my statement.

- Lack of governmental oversight at some parks
- Budget Cuts (staffing or just cutting prices in place not completly nessary)
- And I'd finish off with listing some of the accidents that had nothing to do with rider error

I'm not trying to prove you're unsafe at every park you go to. The mega parks throughout the country (WDW, DLR, Universal, CP, SFGAdv, Sea World, PKI) are very safe and their record shows it. I'm putting to question about the smaller parks where a bad year can set them back very easily.

Friday, January 6, 2006 9:32 AM
You've got a tough paper there! This would be a lot like writing a report on why the sky is the color red! There is probably not a lot available to support that position!

Good luck...I would help you if I knew where the data was...without the data...well lets just say that this is why I hold my opinion that rides are safe!

Friday, January 6, 2006 10:00 AM
If anything, Most of the smaller parks are just as, If not safer than the corporate.

Again, Statements mean nothing, Thats ASO style.
You have to show proof.

You might have some luck on the carnival circut.


Friday, January 6, 2006 9:08 PM

GoliathKills said:
I don't think we say coasters are safe because we wish it were true, I think the enthusiast tends to be more informed of amusement park safety than the average guest or even politican.

Which is 100% completely false. We only know of X amount of enthusiasts or friends/family who've ridden rides A, B, or C and not gotten injured. Or we only know of a few high-profile accidents/fatalities that not everyone else has heard about.

Our definition of safe may be completely different than John Q. Public.
If I ride an SLC and my ears and head get completely banged up, but I make it back to the station, we could call that a safe ride. However, our not-so-experienced park patron may say that the ride caused them a great deal of pain, or injuries to the ears or head, meaning that it's not a safe ride since their expectation is for that not to happen.

I rode a KMG Tango in 2004 at the York Fair (a ride that can be purchased as a park model). I had enjoyed the ride previously, but the ride program for our ride this time was completely different. It threw me and my friend around violently, and we both had severe pain in our collar bones for a while after. So again, yes we made it back alive, but we were in a lot of pain that could've been long-lasting after the fair. So is the ride safe because we made it back alive? Or is it unsafe because we received very painful injuries? I say a little of both.

Gomez, check out saferparks.org. There you can find out the real deal. In my sample, I chose Morey's Piers, which offers a huge selection and variety of rides. You have to only go a few pages before they start listing the injuries that go along with the incident descriptions. Just in a sample of four or five pages, here are the rides that just keep coming up over and over again.

1) Zoom Phloom (log flume)
2) Flitzer
3) Go-Karts
4) Slides

They have links to the states that keep records. And you can get records if you request them from many of the states, if you want something more formal than a webpage.

I think he could have an awesome paper just based on the four rides above:

Log Flume--A bunch of people being carried around without seatbelts with little padding hitting a lot of water
Flitzer--Cars keep failing to make the chain falling backwards. It was like that when I went there, and the last time was 1993! Maybe they should've have modified it or taken it out of service along time ago!
Go-Karts--Probably the nastiest ride available to the guests and I would know seeing as I worked at one. People are constantly getting injured due to other people's behavior. Unsafe at any speed?
Slides--Do they allow too much freedom?

Are many of the accidents just simple falls and stumbles? Yes, but there are a lot more serious things in there also that makes you wonder. Don't listen to Jeffrey (for the record the sky does turn red during many sunrises and sunsets:)), just do the research and I'm sure you'll get an "A."

Saturday, January 7, 2006 2:15 AM
Funny, I never had to write a paper for a ride safety school...

There are plenty of arguments you can make. Of course rides are unsafe. These machines are throwing people around at high speed, with tremendous force, and we don't even know what those forces will do to people. Just go over to http://rideaccidents.com and you can see just a sampling of the amusement ride tragedies that strike consumers all around the world. Just look at the number of people who are injured and even killed on amusement rides every year[1]. Shady operators, offshore ride builders, and an all-consuming passion for increasing bottom-line profit means that the amusement industry is largely unregulated[2] and fights hard to stay that way. There is an almost total absence of clear, mandatory standards for amusement ride design and construction[3]. No Federal agency has authority over amusement park rides[4]. These rides continue to grind up riders and yet aside from a lot of grandstanding and political hand-wringing, little is ever done about the problem. What evidence is there that anyone in the industry even cares what they are doing to America's children, our most vulnerable citizens, who are frequently injured on amusement rides? And "frequently" is certainly the term for it. Just look at the NEISS data published by the CPSC[5], data gathered by sampling hospital emergency rooms and extrapolated to cover the entire country. Just look at rideaccidents.com and notice the growth in incident reports over the past four or five years[6]. Clearly it is a disturbing trend. Look at the reports and the data. You might want to re-think your next visit to the park. At the very least, the best advice to follow remains: Customer BEWARE!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
(Who can more easily make the case that the above is hysterical nonsense. What do the numbers and reports REALLY mean?)

[1]Just don't compare those numbers to the total attendance!
[2]saferparks.org has a list of states which do not regulate rides
[3]ASTM F-2291 is a monster standard that covers most aspects of ride design and construction, but it is an industry standard, developed by the industry, and is technically a voluntary standard unless required by law in certain jurisdictions.
[4]Of course, the CPSC has jurisdiction over portable rides that cross state lines, but the CPSC has no inspection program
[5]The CPSC NEISS report is of course widely discredited for drawing extreme conclusions from what turns out to be an extremely small sample. But it's the kind of data needed to prove the point.
[6]ignoring, of course, the fact that more data is available today than five years ago, and Jared has worked very hard at making the site more comprehensive in recent years.


Saturday, January 7, 2006 3:17 PM
Should I bother…?


If your goal is to come up with ANY information to support your cause regardless of any reasonable measure of objectivity…then by all means listen to the likes of Intamin Fan! I assume you want a fair and objective paper...no? As such…I assume you want fair and objective sourcing. I can tell you from experience…that you will not find fair and objective data that shows Amusement Rides are inherently unsafe by any reasonable standard.

Walking/driving and breathing carry their own set of risks. I guess we could do a paper on the inherent safety failures of walking based upon injury statistics…? Why don't you compare the injuries people sustain walking each year to the injuries sustained on amusement rides? Dog bites? Driving? I'll bet you might be shocked as to how safe the rides may be when compared to other activities! I'm not trying to be a smart ass here...I'm just asking you to keep your eye on the forest and not focus so much on the trees!

But I use the absurd to illustrate that…of course there are inherent risks with riding! Any dolt can point to injuries/risks that are associated with everyday living too. When I talk about ride safety…I’m talking about a statistically significant risk that is above and beyond that associate with being alive!

There are plenty of emotional and sensational websites and individuals who will spew the information you are looking for…but when presented with the other side of the story…the best you can conclude is…there is not enough data to say rides are safe or that they are unsafe!

Intamin Fan says...

Gomez, check out saferparks.org. There you can find out the real deal

A little of that research IF is so fond of reveals…

Saferparks was founded in 2000 by Kathy Fackler , citizen activist and mom to Steven and David. David lost part of his left foot in a roller coaster accident in 1998 when he was five years old, which explains her relentless interest in amusement ride safety.

And we all know a mother scorned is a good source for fair and objective analysis without any emotion involved…

More from IF's source...

At the federal level, Ms. Fackler advises Congressman Markey on issues related to ride safety and testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection in 2000.

While your at it…do a little research on Markey…he’s never been known to sensationalize his arguments to fit his cause! Ms Fackler herself seems to know the difference between fact and fiction...

The opinions expressed on this website are Ms. Fackler's, unless explicitly attributed to someone else.

I do not know what school IF went to…but the schools I went to would certainly not give passing grades to those who source opinion pieces.

Gomez: I could go on-and-on to debunk the sensationalist postings and sources sited in this thread! Run a search on Ms. Fackler and Markey for instance and see for yourself how divergent the opinions are about these individual's credibility! You make the decision for yourself whether you want a fair and objective paper…or you prefer to sensationalize as so many have done before you!

My point is not to say that Markey/Fackler (or even IF and those who agree with him) et al are wrong. My point is to say that they do not have data to prove they are right! The fact is…we just do not know…and appropriate studies have never been propagated!

I cannot honestly tell you whether rides are safe or not! What I can tell you is that in 10 plus years covering this stuff and going through petty arguments as this thread represents…NOBODY has ever been able to provide fair and objective (to say nothing of peer-referenced) data that proves amusement rides are unsafe (again as defined through reasonable risks associated with living and moving). The best you will get is sensationalist opinion websites/speeches/etc without appropriate data to back up their claims! If you find fair and objective data that proves me wrong…then by all means provide it! I’m always willing to learn and change my mind based upon sound data! But be forwarned...I will take the time to study the data and the credibility of those providing the data! Unlike the mainstream media...journalist Smith actually strives for truth and objectivity! Don't try sourcing wacko websites like IF just did!

Intamin Fan certainly needs to do a lot better than quoting some scorned mother’s website and pawning it off as the “real deal” to meet even the most minimal standards of objectivity! Don’t let any personal swipes he may offer sway you from seeking a fair and objective truth! The most minimal screening of the source he provides you can tell you a lot about how discerning he is about seeking the truth on this issue?!

I hope you provide a fair and objective paper regardless of your preconceived notions. If not…feel free to sensationalize! Congress, the media, scientists, and believe it or not…our very own CB posters do it all the time!

*** Edited 1/7/2006 8:23:01 PM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

Saturday, January 7, 2006 3:45 PM
This Kathy woman, what exactly is her purpose? Like....what is her overall goal?

I read her website and well it's a lot of 'stuff' and some editorials.


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