Seatbelts, What is really necessary?

After doing a bit more research, it seems that Six Flags replaced one of the go/no go seatbelts (the one that attached to the lapbar) with a series of sensors that monitor lapbar position electronically. This was done at SFNE in addition to SFA (and, I assume, Darien Lake as well). I see now that's what TSC 2007 was referring to above.

However, the regular lapbar is now also configured to act as a go/no go device that eliminates those who are too large to fasten the belt from riding.


I was talking to a client at my part-time job on Friday and he found out about me being a coaster enthusiast. He mentioned that his group home just went to SFA and he didn't have a good time. I figured it was the usual problems, but it was his weight that caused him not to have a good time.

He said that none of the seatbelts would wrap around his waist on the coasters. The only thing he managed to fit on was Shipwreck Falls. He mentioned that he used to be a ride-op on Space Mountain at Walt Disney World and that everything fits him there. He was even able to ride Expedition Everest recently.

This is an annual topic (at least), but either the ride manufactures are going to have to conform to the super-sizing of Americans (and eleswhere), or this guy is going to need to lose some serious weight (I vote for the latter).

With whole industries cashing in on the super-sizing of people (great article in Reader's Digest this month--yes, some people under 50 do read it Jeff), I think in time that either a) the lines at your local amusement park will get a lot lower or b) ride manufactures will start being more accomodating like Huss and B&M and provide some "big-boy" seats.

rollergator's avatar
When speaking of "necessary", should we take into account that rides operated for DECADES in *relative safety* without seat-dividers, intrusive seatbelts, OTSRs, etc.?

Necessary these days means pretty much ONE thing - your park's insurance carrier says "you're covered." ;)

rollergator said:
When speaking of "necessary", should we take into account that rides operated for DECADES in *relative safety* without seat-dividers, intrusive seatbelts, OTSRs, etc.?

Necessary these days means pretty much ONE thing - your park's insurance carrier says "you're covered." ;)

And thats what I mean about Belts being total BUNK on most rides. It's a extra device to keep YOU from doing something stupid. it's also the easiest to defeat unless there is some magnetic locking mechanism or something.

90 percent of the rides out there are perfectly safe without them. It's a extra device on OTSR coaster and also helps prevent submarining .

Did you ever see that kid on the sling shot video where his body slipped down in the seat? Without that groin belt, Id imagine he'd be gonners, Just like the kid on PGA's Drop Zone was.

Chuck, who has no proof thats what happened on Drop Zone but two weeks after the incident while riding Hellevator *After it's belt was installed* I noticed the GAP in the seat and the bar that It would be possible if you were not UPRIGHT on your butt back in the seat.

Since El Toro’s trains were built with lapbar sensors to detect bars not lowered enough, the seatbelt must serve another purpose besides checking for oversized riders. My theory is that (if they are not there just to pacify insurance companies or provide a restraint back-up) they are used to provide lateral restraint. Even for average-sized riders, there can be a significant gap between where the side of the car ends and the lapbar position. See the guy in 1-3 here for an example. On a related note, Xcelerator has had its seats modified to add lateral restraint (picture).
I found it interesting that Woodstock Express at Cedar Point not only had the lapbar restraint but also a seatbelt with a buckle that could not be undone except by the operator with a special tool.

IntaminHater said:
Ok so some of you are saying that you dont think Top Gun (KI) or Iron Dragon should have seat belts, but why should they have seat belts less then the other arrow rides like Corckscrew or Vortex? The restraint system is the same to me, and regardless of where the track is, if you need a secondary restraint on one, you need it on the other.

To understand you have to look at the ride and the forces on the ride. On Iron Dragon and Top Gun, nearly all of the forces on those rides are positive G's (i.e. downward) which force you further into the car. By design, there are few areas with "airtime" or "negative G's", so even if the restrain should fail and pop open, there is very little likelihood that you would be ejected from the car. Corkscrews / Vortex have both positive and negative G's, and should the harness ever fail, there is a higher probability that you might be ejected from the car.
Morté615's avatar
I do not feel that I am qualified to say weather seatbelts are required or not, that is for someone with a lot more education than me to figure out.

But what I do feel is that instead of doing fixed length belts, that then limit the ridership, they should use the tried and tested technology that is found in cars. Retractable belts. These have been tested for many years in the automobile industry and we all know they work, they can place these in the trains, most trains can find the room for the small part needed, and then you don't have to worry about limiting your ridership for a secondary restraint (See Millennium Force at Cedar Point!).

Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
Dragon's Fire Design:

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