Riding For Your Life!

Thursday, February 16, 2006 8:53 PM
I think many if not most of us have experienced a *scary* or *eye-awakening* experience on carnival rides.

For me, it happened on the Rock-O-Plane at our county fair in 1983.

The ride had made about three rounds then as my cage was diving towards the ground at great speed, (they had this thing running on crack) my seat came apart! It slid off its support.

I began sliding forward into the bar into the front of the cage. I felt helpless since I was belted in rather tightly. I had to sweat it out after several hair raising rounds and tried to remain still.

When I got off shaken up, I told the ride op what had happened. I don't remember much after that.

It took me almost a decade to muster the courage to try another Rock-O-Plane. In 1991, I rode this ride at the Puyallup Fair (Western Washington State Fair). All went well, and the ride seemed a bit taller and more intense.

Anyway, since then I haven't this ride due to a dizziness problem. But I have been tempted.

Does anyone have a story that's similar to this?

(Side note: I've always wondered if these Rock-O-Planes varied in sizes? Anyone know?)

Thursday, February 16, 2006 9:56 PM
The scariest carnival ride I have been on was a Thuderbolt. This ride did not have lap bars, just seat belts. My seat belt was broken The man never came around to check the seat belts, he just started the ride. I had to stretch out my arms and legs in the car and use all of my force to keep myself in the car. I was scared to death. When I said something to the ride op he said that he would look into it. At the Pine Bluff county fair in 97 I think, I was at the park when one of the swings on the flying swings ride broke off and a person was killed. I didn't see it thank goodness because I probably would've been sick.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:09 PM
lol....you would have gotten sick at watching someone die? i would hope witnessing someone's death would be a little bit more shocking than making you sick, glad you werent inconvienced....

my, how numb our society has become.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:16 PM
I couldn't even imagine the fear that I would have if anything would ever go wrong on a ride.

Even though the stats show that traveling carnival rides have a safer record than fixed sites, I still won't go on them. Carnival rides look unstable and the ride operators are always very questionable. I'll stick to CP and other major parks around my hometown, I feel much safer there.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:44 PM
hit a support on superman (due to stupidity).

stung by a bee on superman.

bar unlocked on a huss ranger when i was little, went around about 4 times before they finally stopped the ride [thing is WAYYYY too loud]. wouldn't ride it again for 4 years.

// not the best of luck.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:54 PM
When I was a kid back in Ohio, went through a trauma on a ferris wheel. The ride op closed the car on my hand as I was sitting down, severing my middle finger in the process. He thought my screams were that of a frightened child, and he started the ride while I started to bleed out all over my new white shirt and my dad's. We completed three rotations before the op noticed the blood! Long story short, the finger was saved and I feel safer on any roller coaster than I do a carnival ride.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:58 PM

vacoasterfreak said:
lol....you would have gotten sick at watching someone die? i would hope witnessing someone's death would be a little bit more shocking than making you sick, glad you werent inconvienced....

my, how numb our society has become.

I always thought it was a pretty natural reaction to be sick when you witness a violent death. I get sick every time I pass a car wreck.

I've never really had any close calls at carnivals because I don't go, but the latch on my enterprise vehicle was a bit scary at the Pavilion once. I guess there wasn't really a threat to my safety though, because the forces on an enterprise would keep you in your seat regardless of the door. Camden Park usually does a nice job of making you fear for your life.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:04 PM
I do my best to avoid the carnival rides altogether. They just never feel safe. But I do ride from time to time, and the "Cliff Hanger" is my favorite. My scariest moment was on Greezed Lightnin' @ SFKK though. The lapbar was not down all the way, and on the return trip through the loop I put my hands up and came "way" out of my seat. I really did think it was going to be all over for a second, but obviously I'm still alive.

But I learned my lesson. I will never ride a coaster again without the lapbar completely down, however, the hands will be way up. And GL remains a big time favorite for me.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:21 PM
I really haven't had much happen to me, except getting my arm stuck under the automatic shoulder harness on a Chance Inverter, ouch! But I was once at my High School's carnival when my then 2 year old brother was riding the mini fire truck ride. Another boy of about his age had gotten out of his seat and started crawling around the platform where the cars were moving. One of the trucks rolled over his arm. Fortunatly the ride was very cheaply made so the part didn't weigh much and didn't hurt him, but it was scary to witness.
Friday, February 17, 2006 12:21 AM
I swear this is no joke. The scariest ride I ever had was on a New York City train.

I was working the 4 PM - Midnight shift when I went home and took my usual train from the city to Brooklyn. When I got to my car, I realized I forgot my keys in my studio. I was working for a radio network at the time. I took another train back into the city and went back to the office. (Now it's 1 AM).

BY now the city folk were empyting out and the seedier side of the subway world was emerging. Bums, derelicks, homeless, a few young couples and a lot of dudes that looked that they just were worthy of not messing with. At this hour, you can hear the hummm of the florescent lights of the station and see the rats picking away at the garbage on the tracks in droves. Footsteps echo loudly...a far cry from the busy bustle of what was a few hours ago.

By the time the train came it was about 1:30 AM. Naturally the doors closed and a few stops later it stopped between stations. There were 8 people in that car, and nobody was looking at anybody else out fear and respect. THere were a few garbled messages from the PA system and the train started going backward. Now it's 2 AM.

Back at anohter platform, we were told that the bridge was shut down, and that we were to take another line. We had to walk through a very dark corridor on to an even narrower station with fewer people.

Three different trains and a bus ride later and I was finally home by 5 AM. There was already a pre-rush hour crowd ready to start their day on the opposite platform heading back to the city.

It was scary and I shudder just thinking about it.

Bottom line - before you leave home or work, check your keys, your wallet, your cell phone (didn't have those back then) your watch and your glasses.

Friday, February 17, 2006 6:52 AM
^Now that gave me chills. :-/

As far as carni rides, I usually avoid them because I have a problem with a contraption that is erected and then torn down day after day and moved to another city, along with the people who run the rides. Exhaustion and stress (on both the ride ops and the rides themselves) seem more prevalent on carni rides. It really depends. Sometimes I will get on them but most of the time I avoid them.

The only bad carnival experience I had was loosing my wallet when I was a kid. I have seen a Ferris Wheel break down with the riders stranded for at least an hour.

That must of been horrible, Lisa. The Rock-O-Planes are freaky enough! :-)

I have felt like I was "riding for my life" on many flats at parks, as well as a few coasters where I thought they were either going to fall apart or cause me to start bleeding from the ears due to the headbanging.

The BEST "riding for my life" experience was on the Flyers at PPP this past October, but that was FUN!

Rain, high winds, cold, speed, holding onto the tub for dear life, and some sick snappage! :-)


*** Edited 2/17/2006 11:57:48 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Friday, February 17, 2006 7:47 AM
Lets see,

Working at park, Down giant slide on waxpaper. Result, Two broken toes and severly sprained ankle. I came off the bottom hill probably four feet in the air :( Also got smacked pretty good once by spinning tilt a whirl car.

Visiting parks. Thunder Run, CP's Blue Streak, Hersheys Wildcat. Lapbars opening. Does Thunder Runs ever stay closed? I've had it happen many times on that.

Carnys_ Fairs.

In 2001 the mondial shake was at the Ohio State Fair. It was called Magnum. for those not familiar find catwooman at SFNO. The cars both spin and flip while turning on a turntable. Well the ride went fine, But usually ops would come around and hold the cars steady as you would get out. Not this time aparently and so I decided Id get out on my own and stood up, The car fliped forward tossing me out onto the turntable supports.

That was the biggest darkest and ugliest bruise I've ever had in my life on my thigh and it didn't fully go away for about six months.

Bottom lines.
1. working at parks, don't do stupid things like riding on wax paper on a giant slide and pay attention when operating rides.

2. While lapbars on most woodies are just a safety backup, Riding proper prevents any serious problems

3. Don't get out of a Mondial Shake without the help of a Ride op.


Friday, February 17, 2006 11:32 AM
I was riding Top Gun (an invert - Vekoma SLC) at PCW with a buddy when his retraint unlocked mid-course. The seat belt backup was the only thing holding his restraint closed. Yes, he white-nuckled it through the ride. Yes, Top Gun was closed for a couple hours after the incident.

My own most frightened 2 minutes inside a park ride was on the Yo-yo at Geauga Lake. With the tight chest strap, my weight was very far back in the seat and I nearly tipped over backwards several times during the course of my ride. I think this Yo-yo was not assembled correctly, because the chains for each swing were attached to the same T-shaped mounting bar. All other Yo-yo's I've seen have had the chairs hanging between two T-shaped bars, so when the T-bars lifted up, the chain-supports were actually much wider apart (six feet?), stabilizing the chairs.

But what incidents scared me so much, my heart raced for over an hour? Near misses driving to the parks. On one 2,000 mile roller coaster road trip, we were nearly killed twice before we even hit a park. Some ancient idiot in a minivan did a rolling stop, then crossed the two-lane highway I was driving down. I was doing 65 mph and would have plowed right into his door, but I was able to brake and steer just ahead of his bumper, nearly rolling our car doing it. There was a pair of 50-foot smoking S-shaped tire skids behind me, just like in the movies. (I thought only tires smoked, but the whole skid mark was billowing.) A few hours later, we had a run-in with a different kind of idiot. This teenagerwas frustrated with construction traffic, so he pulled his sportscar into his left lane and floored it. What he didn't realize was that the lane he was driving in wasn't a passing lane, but rather the left-hand turn lane for traffic going the other direction. I was trapped at a dead stop, waiting to turn. I honked as his car approached at 40-50 mph, and I've never seen eyes so big in my life. He managed to keep his car on the road, fishtailing past us on our right (luckily, no oncoming traffic). There's no feeling quite as helpless as watching oncoming vehicles simultaneously passing on both your left and right. Each of these near misses got our hearts pounding for a couple hours. It felt good to get on a hyper coaster and relax.
*** Edited 2/17/2006 4:35:08 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

Friday, February 17, 2006 12:39 PM
Putnam County Ohio Fair in late 70's/early 80's I was catching a Zipper Ride with a friend. We were the only 2 on the ride. A lightbulb on the ride shattered and the pieces (some of them) got into our car. The ride kept going for a few rotations while my friend and I suffered minor, but numerous surface scratches from the glass shreds.

This was before the time of lawsuits. Our parents settled with the carnie on the spot for a return of tickets. We thought we got the best of them...

Friday, February 17, 2006 1:49 PM
Just for mentioning the zipper has got to be the most intense flat ride ive ever ridden, I've only rode it once. I couldnt imagine anything worse happening on that ride.
Friday, February 17, 2006 2:53 PM
We Greatwhitenorth, Your not the only person I've heard tell me they had a SLC restraint pop open durring the ride and the belt being the only thing keeping the bar somewhat near closed.


Friday, February 17, 2006 3:07 PM
Yikes, I always thought these restraint failures were urban legends. Although, I've had seatbelts unbuckle on me on Magnum amd Timber Wolf. I have never seen a restraint unlock while the ride was in motion.

Also, once on Timber Wolf, the seat slid half-way off the frame when we hit the brakes. That was interesting.

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:36 PM
Matt, I have had it a couple times on PTC's where the seat slid forward and the one time I was pretty much IN THE HOLE after I came down from airtime. I was waiting for the cross ties to give me a spankin :)


Friday, February 17, 2006 5:27 PM
Yeah it was very firghtening Tina to say the least. The Rock-O-Plane had been my ultimate favorite ride for many years prior to that incident. So, when it happened out of the blue, I really was caught of guard and didn't know what to do. You know, I don't recall what that carni did after I told him what happened. I was pretty upset and angry. I think he just looked at the cage then let the next poor victims inside. But, I had to endure many rotations forward then backwards before the ride came to a stop with the seat moving forward.

In 1978, we had a carnival where all the rides broke down the same day. The Rock-O-Plane lost its cable with riders still on it. I recall it made a loud snapping noise and frayed around in the wind. Very shocking to see especially the dazed and confused looks on the riders faces. And one of the Hammerhead's (Roll-O-Plane) cars split in half. It just sat there in pieces during the duration of the carnival. After the fair was over, the fair board folks fired that carnival and hired a new one to come the following year. I think there was a lawsuit involved too.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 10:41 PM

Charles Nungester said:
We Greatwhitenorth, Your not the only person I've heard tell me they had a SLC restraint pop open durring the ride and the belt being the only thing keeping the bar somewhat near closed.


Same thing happened to me on SFA's mind eraser,not once but twice!As a result I simply avoid the orange train< back then the teal one> like the plauge.

Anyhow the first incident was in row 7 of the teal train a couple years ago...about halfway through the course my restraint just popped open on me.Good thing I was able to hang on for the remainder of the ride,the second incident occured in the same train,front row.I had asked to have the restraint set as tight as humanly possible & everything was fine until we get about halfway up the lift when it pops again...this time just a couple of clicks but still enough to scare me off the ride for a good season or two.


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