Seatbelts, What is really necessary?

So I have been thinking for a while about Seat belts on rides and wondering if they are always needed. So as we have seen over the past few years many rides have added seat belts. I do understand the need for them on some wooden coasters as an extra restraint, but thats not what I'm worried about. Today I'm wondering about steel coasters. Take a look at most B&Ms (Im guessing all of them), they seem to use a seatbelt on the restraint as a secondary device. A lot of intamins are this way as well. In reality, knowing how restraint mechanisms work, I find it very unlikely that these are actually ever used, as I would find a restraint failure near impossible. So are they necessary?

On a recent visit to KI, I noticed that this year they added seat belts to rides that previously did not have them, like Vortex and Top Gun. And first I thought well thats stupid, but then I thought it makes sense. If it is necessary on other rides restraints, why isn't it necessary on these? The restraints work the same way for the most part right? (does anyone know if this is a cedar fair chain wide thing, or just something happening at KI, and was there an incident that lead to this?)

So I guess what I'm trying to figure out is did KI make the right move by adding these seat belts to these rides, or should everyone be removing them from the other rides as they are a secondary restraint that most likely is never utilized. I'm curious to see what others think on the whole seat belt topic, especially in terms of steel coaster.

Cedar Fair is in the habit of seatbelting coasters that didn't previously have them. IMO, it's more for "peace of mind and appearance" than actual safety, but that is by not means backed up by any evidence.

Guess its just like their new "1 train post rain" policy that seems to be the norm. I doubt rides that have run for years without problems will start crashing in the rain, but one incident scared them (and I don't blame them at least for responding).

B&M seatbelts (and some CF's newest additions for that matter) are only used for a measuring device. If you can't buckle the seatbelt, you're not riding.

Simple as that.

Laser at Dorney just got seatbelts this year which don't seem neccessary at all. The ride was at Dorney for over 20 years without them to to add them now seems silly.
MidwavePC's avatar
Cedar Fair seatbelts the Carousels...never have I seen anything like that before till they took over GL in 2004.
DantheCoasterman's avatar
I can some-what understand Vortex getting seatbelts, but not Top Gun. The coaster is short and there aren't any negative g's....

But the strange thing about Cedar Fair adding seatbelts to KI's Top Gun and Vortex is that Cedar Point has never put seatbelts on Corkscrew or Iron Dragon.......

Seat belts were added to Corkscrew a few years ago.

I read from some all knowing CoasterBuzz members that adding seat belts has more to do with keeping insurance rates lower. Even though it can somewhat hinder capacity, I see it as a pretty good idea. It gives more phobic riders a feeling of extra safety too.

Corkscrew has seatbelts this year, and I think they were there last year. Iron Dragon remains beltless. I really don't think Top Gun would need them either, but its up to the experts.
Rick_UK's avatar
Some rides have seatbelts in the UK. Pleasure Beach added seatbelts to Revolution (Arrow Shuttle Loop). While some Vekoma Corkscrews operate without them.

Flamingo Land used to have a log flume with seatbelts, is that the norm in the states?


Nothing to see here. Move along.

a standard log flume with belts?

Can't say I've ever seen that, I think a couple of the big (20 passenger or so) boat chutes have belts, but I haven't personally ridden one that has.

The interesting one about the belts on the multi element trains is at Geauga Lake, the Double Loop got the belts, the Head Spin (Vekoma Boomerang) did not.

Incidenttly, those belts on Geauga Lake's carousel were added during the Six Flags days, and have since been removed. (I rode GL's carousel last month)

The other thing about seatbelts on rides, besides being a measuring device is that insurance companies/risk management departments and/or lawyers like them because they can help prove intent. If policy states the belt must be fastened and snug before the ride starts, then if you lose a rider, you first look at the ride vehicle. IF the belt is still fastened, or there is an obvious failure like a busted buckle or torn webbing you are looking at a ride accident, if the ride comes back with the belt unfastened, its not 100% proof but odds are the rider unfastened the belt, which points to rider error and possibly rider misconduct.

David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville
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Rick_UK's avatar
Yeah it was a standard log flume, it was replaced with a shoot the shoots type ride by Bear Flumes. I didn't know if it was standard in some parts of the world but it was certainly unusual here.

Another ride of note is the 'Rollercoaster' at Pleasure Beach. Until a couple of years ago it operated with no restraints whatsoever from the 1930s until circa 2004/5. Now it has seatbelts, the loading time is so slow - although how they operated it for so long without them is beyond me!


Nothing to see here. Move along.

I think that all CF parks should have seat belts in all the bathroom stalls.
La Ronde got seatbelts installed on the Intamin shoot the chutes when they opened it in 2004. Its the standard 50 feet high model.
I have to say that I rode the Phoenix at Knoebels for the first time last month and I was really happy to see no seatbelts on that ride.

It made the airtime amazing.

SROS:SFA The third hill owns you!
DawgByte II's avatar
I friggin remember the Condor at Great Escape has seat-belts.

First of all, you're caged into the ride, and second of all... there's no G's really with that ride, and it doesn't do anything more than a scrambler ride wouldn't do on x-tra slow.

I never understood why they added seatbelts to that caged ride.

MidwavePC's avatar

Coasterville Dave said:

Incidenttly, those belts on Geauga Lake's carousel were added during the Six Flags days, and have since been removed. (I rode GL's carousel last month)

hmmm...that's odd....I visited GL/SFOhio/SFWoA 31 times during the Six Flags era (1996-2003) and never witnessed seatbelts on the Carousel until Spring 2004, after Cedar Fair took over....

I'm glad they have since been taken off, but we didn't ride it last Friday (7/20/2007) to notice.

*** Edited 7/23/2007 5:33:27 PM UTC by MidwavePC***

Are they necessary on all rides like wooden coasters? Absolutely not. However, you have to remember that there are misbehaving people along with young kids that want to exit a ride when it's going. They try to slip out of everything they can, and maybe they might find a way even with there harness. They are small, and can try and get out of stuff.

Some lady jumped off the freakin log flume because she was scared of it. Do you remember that accident?

This is why you need extra restraints. It's not always because you would fall out of the ride. For the second backup, you just never know when some ride could pop open the restraints, or brake. If a wooden coaster lapbar went up, you might be flying out of that thing. It's always better to have seatbelts on rides than not. It's an extra safety thing, and it's also an extra help to try and keep that person in the ride thing (the kid that wants to get out of the ride while it's moving).

B&M hypers (Nitro, Raging Bull, etc...) don't have seat belts. It actually makes me a little nervous. If that restraint failed, you'd totally fly out of your seat.

I still feel seat are more to prevent people from getting out of a ride on their own though. But, without any way of monitoring if the seat belt is unbuckled, they're sorta pointless.

I do like the feeling of security by having the seat belt though.

Condor, as in the Falcon at Hersheypark?

That is one I was shocked to see did not have seatbelts, it felt like you were going to tip out at any given moment. But that ride has no cage... so we must be talking about a different kind of Condor. And it certainly isn't slow when it spins up top!

The one that still baffles me, even though it is caged, is the Zipper (and I ADORE that ride) .. but it seems as many times as the door latch issues have come to light, that they don't bolt some kind of seat belt mount to the frame of the car in case the door flies open you have somewhat of a chance of staying in the seat.

DawgByte II's avatar
Yes, I do mean Flying Falcon, of which is a Huss Condor. They are pretty much caged, as you have little chance of falling out, even if went upsidedown like a Huss Enterprise...

They don't go all that fast, even in this YouTube video. It certainly would be qualified as a mild thrill vs many other rides.

Wooden coasters are the biggest violaters of fun with seatbelts. If a coaster went decades & decades without seatbelts, why add them now? Are the passing generations that stupid, or that sue-happy that it is just set as a necessary precaution?

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