Sacrificing Absolute Safety for Convenience

Sunday, March 10, 2002 12:35 PM
I was watching a coaster show on the Discovery Channel that showed Millenium Force being dispatched w/ all the lap bars open except for the ride-op who was riding the coaster. I knew of this feature before I saw the show but when I saw it I thought, "What if somebody went up the lift and didn't put their lap bar down?" I have also heard of this feature on the Vekoma Dutchmans. I wanted to know if you think that this feature is worth the added risk of injury or death or if you think it is worth the added convenience?

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SFNE drops the "floor" on SFNE for 2002! Visit www.geocities.com/sfneguy for info. and pics of SFNE, including NEW constr. pics of B:DK!!!

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Sunday, March 10, 2002 12:45 PM
Uh the ride ops usually, actauly ALWAYS checks the lap bars, thats kind of thier job... therefor dont worry about it

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Out of the coasters i've ridden here is what I rank them overall:(ive been to canobie lake and SFNE)
1. S:RoS 2. Yankee Cannonball 3. Riverside Cyclone 4. Canobie
Corkscrew 5. Thunderbolt 6. Galaxy 7. Mind Eraser 8. Dragon coaster 9. poison ivy's tangl

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Sunday, March 10, 2002 12:50 PM

Well, I'm sure that the default is to check all the restraints, so unless the ride-op actually overrides the restraint check, they will be checked. So, the ride op would have to override AND the ride-op would have to fail to properly check the restraint. Probably not likely to both happen at the same time by accident.

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The legend lives!

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Sunday, March 10, 2002 1:43 PM
Very few coasters (I can think of ...umm...I think three off-hand...that actually check for restraint position before the train leaves the station. Most either have an auto-lock mechanism or an interlock to make sure that the lap bar mechanism is locked, but there is usually nothing to check for bar position.

So the safety of the riders depends on the proper procedure being followed. Procedure is that all the bars are down when the train goes. Unless there is nobody on the train.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Sunday, March 10, 2002 1:51 PM
And when was the last time someone died from an open restraint? (Not caused by the rider)

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- Peabody

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Sunday, March 10, 2002 1:53 PM
I don't know about Cedar Point, but aren't the policies at six flags parks that even if you are running an empty train that ALL restraints have to be lowered and not in the up position? Kinda weird. Anyway, don't a lot of trains use seat belts as measuring devices? Like I know the new premier trains have them to measure if the lap bar is down enough, so if the seat belt doesnt attach then you won't be allowed to ride.
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Sunday, March 10, 2002 4:52 PM
Most coasters can be dispatched without the restraints locked in place, occasionally Scorcher will be dispatched with all its restraints up during breakdown situations. It's funny, though, the motion of the train on the little dip on the top of the B+M hills closes the restraints completely!
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Monday, March 11, 2002 3:14 AM

Having worked at Cedar Point, I know that the crews I worked on never failed to check the restraints while the train was loaded. For some coasters, that was just a visual inspection because the bars were automatically locked, and such a check wouldn't necessarily be noticeable to the riders. Others checks did involve a physical check to be sure the bar was locked.

Disaster Transport is another coaster that can be sent -- and it -- without the bars down. They are all controlled by the computer and locked automatically; to be unlocked, the controls host has to activate them. Otherwise, they're locked. Often we would test ride without having the rest of the bars down -- it might be a matter of convenience, but safety was never compromised.

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Monday, March 11, 2002 5:31 AM

Safety is never "Absolute". It is always relative.

I had any experience last summer on a boat chute ride that was dispatched with the lap bar for the first row up. The riders hollared and the ride was stopped. Maintenance had to come to clear the emergency stop.

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Monday, March 11, 2002 6:25 AM
Rideman: Don't all the B&M hypers have to have the restraints past a certain point (the tape) to dispatch?

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The legend lives!

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Monday, March 11, 2002 8:03 AM
Those are the ones I was thinking of, ApolloAndy. They have various means...Apollo uses mechanical plungers to contact switches on the platform; I think Nitro may use an electrical contact instead. But those are the only ones I know of where the train has any way of communicating the restraint position back to the computer. There are lots of rides that communicate back the restraint status, such as every Arrow looper or suspended coaster, where the release pedals are checked to make sure they're all 'up'. But that only tells you for certain that the bars are locked, not that they are closed.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, March 11, 2002 12:16 PM
The Vekoma Flying Dutchmen have lots of interlocks on their restraints for obvious reasons. It's a problem satisfying all of them so you can get the train out of the station.

*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 3/11/2002. ***

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Monday, March 11, 2002 12:20 PM
Yes, but from the descriptions I've read of things that have happened on these trains, I get the impression that the train is allowed to leave the station when everything isn't quite "just so", but will be stopped at the top of the lift if there is a problem. Which, if you think about it, makes sense, since the thing is supposed to recline on the way up the lift. My GUESS is that the reclining mechanism requires that the lap bars are secure, and the ride control requires that the cars be reclined and locked before the top of the lift.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, March 11, 2002 2:35 PM
At SFA on Batwing. they are able to at least check all of the interlocks in the station. You'll hear a cry from the panel like, "Knee bar on 6", and a ride op will go to row 6 and shake the knee bars until the interlock is satisfied. Obviously, this is much better than having to climb the lift. Now I don't know if the down and locked switches for the reclining can be check in the station. I've never observed an obvious problem with them when I've ridden.

*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 3/11/2002. ***

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Monday, March 11, 2002 3:48 PM

I could be alone on this one, but I don't give a rat's arse when the seats recline....in the station is fine with me if it will relieve some of the already overwhelming "check burden". Is rreclining on the lift (4 rides on 3 flyers, haven't had that happen yet...) going to be THAT big of a difference? I'd prefer to go to a park that has one of these operating consistently enough, with enough staff, so I could get 3-4 spins in.

I agree with 2hostyl that "butt up" isn't the most comfy, but it IS pretty cool flying...can't wait to try it out nice and LOW to the ground at SFoG. small note: B&M's reliability, weekday or early season, well-staffed SF park, looking pretty good...

P.S. SFoG can change some perceptions about the way SF parks are run...be prepared! It's not HW or anything, but if you go expecting what some deem "typical SF guest (sic) relations", you may be surprised...

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