Shoulder harness or not shoulder harness?

Wednesday, August 23, 2000 9:53 AM
I have not ridden Son of Beast yet, but for those who have, do you like the inversion better with no shoulder harness? Would you like to see more coasters (steel and wood) with no shoulder harnesses and more inversions?

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Shawn Bailes
Webmaster of Coasters R Us
http://coastersrus.home-page.org
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 9:55 AM
My bad on the title. I forgot to correct it before I submitted the new topic. It should be "Shoulder harness or no shoulder harness?"

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Shawn Bailes
Webmaster of Coasters R Us
http://coastersrus.home-page.org
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 10:03 AM
I like the lap bars. They give you more movement in the cars. I don't know how they'd work with corkscrews though. You might end up taking a real beatting. I could do without the loops on a wood coaster though. It was smooth but I'd sooner see the steel coasters loop.
__On the other hand I think a corkscrew could be added to a GCI layout. It could blend in perfectly to the ride with all the banked turns and drops. I don't see it hapening though.

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Parks hit for 2000!
PKD,BGW,DP,HP,PKI,HW,SFKK,SFA,SFNE,LC,GE,QP,Camden,Lakemont,Knoebels, SFO,CP,
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 11:09 AM

I say lap bars. Intamin lap bars. The only shoulder harnesses I like are ones that DON't swallow your head. I wanna see steel hypers with 2 loops but LAP BARS!! That would be great!
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DOWN WITH TRIM BRAKES!
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 12:07 PM

Yes, but if they used lap bars, the only inversion that could be done is a vertical loop, correct???
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CP's Overrated
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 12:16 PM
I am short. Shoulder harnesses hurt my ears. I am really tired of banging my ears against shoulder harnesses on what would otherwise be a great ride, so I say LAP BARS ONLY!!
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 1:13 PM
No, lap bars don't limit your inversions to vertical loops (see Millennium Force ;)). Actually, I know people who have been on various loopers without the harness down, namely old Arrow loopers. Most of them keep your center of gravity underneath you, so the forces at work keep you in the seat.

A case could be made that an accident pinning you upside down should give your upper body support, but even then I'm not sure how to feel about that. You are best secured for anything by the waist.

You couldn't get away with it on all looping rides, though. If you've ever been front seat on a Vekoma SLC you know what I'm talking about. The rough jerking motion will often pin you forward in to the harness as the train suddenlt slows down as the rear catches up.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 2:53 PM
Ride action affects the body most directly at its center of mass. It follows, then that the best way to secure the body in position is to secure it at or near its center of mass.

It just so happens that the center of mass for a human body is located somewhere between the navel and the tailbone. This is convenient as it allows a person to sit unaided without significant effort. It also makes the body fairly stable when standing upright, as the center of mass doesn't move much when a person is walking.

On a roller coaster, or any other ride, then, the primary concern needs to be with securing the center of mass, because if that is under control then the motion of the extremities can be more easily predicted and if necessary restrained.

Last year, if my theory is correct, we all got a grisly demonstration of what happens when riders are secured about the shoulders and not about the center of mass. A rider was secured beneath a shoulder bar, which restrained his upper body. Meanwhile his lower body slid forward...intentionally or unintentionally, we may never know...for ride forces to literally suck him right out of his seat from under the shoulder bar.

I know it can happen because I was riding a coaster last week...again, secured only by a shoulder bar...and had the shoulder bar on the empty seat next to mine not been all the way down, my lower body would have switched seats mid-ride.

Shoulder bars are anatomically incorrect. Let's get rid of 'em as soon as possible!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 3:20 PM
I love the old Swartzkopf coasters like his shuttle loops and SFOT's Shockwave that only have lap bars. And a few O.D. Hopkins rides like Desert Storm that are also lap bar only. Like Merri, I'm not too tall and shoulder harnesses really beat me up, B&M's being the exceptions. In case you all didn't hear, a few years back a Swartz shuttle loop did stop upside down in a Belgium park for a few hours. No one fell out or was hurt, the lap bar and seat belt were more than enough to hold them in the entire time. Shoulder harnesses are totally unnecessary, except to the insurance companies.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 3:26 PM
Seat belt? What seat belt? I never heard about Scirocco having seat belts...

Oh, and don't be too quick to blame the insurance companies. They take a much more scientific approach to ride safety than you might expect, and they are far more likely to ask for a brake light on a Go-Kart than to demand a shoulder bar on a coaster. Heck, if we had more loopers without shoulder bars, the actuaries would probably be ecstatic at the number of minor injuries they would prevent...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 5:35 PM
Sorry RideMan, I assumed since all the other Swartz shuttles I've been on had seat belts, I figured Scirocco had one too. Interesting to know :)

Swartz masterpiece Revolution at SFMM was an incredibly amazing and intense ride in it's time, and originally only ran with a simple lap bar and nothing else, it was simply brilliant. Now SFMM claims that it's insurance company require, in addition to the lap bar, a seat belt, head rest and a huge head bashing horse collar. The ride is horrible now and totally un-reridable. For the life of me can't understand how a ride could run perfect for years with just a lap bar, without any incidents ever, and now 4 different restraints are needed to run safely. Doesn't seem logical that SFMM would spend the extra money to install all these extra restraints and ruin a once great ride, for no reason. I do think insurance companies do indeed play a big role in determining what type of restraints a park has to have on their rides.

Just look at the new woodies too. Woodies have ran for over a century now with nothing more than just a lap bars. Now most modern woodies feature uncomfortably restrictive lap bars, head rest, seat dividers, as well as seatbelts too. I really don't think parks would do all this on their own, history has shown it was never necessary in the past. But if an insurance company says they won't insure a park without all the extra precautions, parks are gonna give in and do what they ask, and overkill with the restraints.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 8:04 PM
I rode a Scawrtzkoph, Greezed Lightning at PGA. It is an old shuttle looper and was great with just a lapbar. It is deffenltly more of a safe feeling. I think we might see an inverted with no shoulder restrait!

Todd B

Riddler's Revenge: The most underrated ride in the universe
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 8:23 PM
An inverted with no OTSRs? I wouldnt feel to comfortable with that.

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"DONT FIGHT IT, RIDE IT",,,,RAGING BULL
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 8:43 PM
I honestly don't know if Scirocco had seat belts at the time of the incident or not. The question never came up at the time, and the concensus at the time seemed to be that it was just the lap bars. I've not ridden a Schwarzkopf shuttle, but all the Schwarzkopf loopers I have ridden (two Doppel Loopings, a Silber Pfiel, and a Looping Speedracer) do not have belts.
As for the insurance company bit...one of the things I have noticed is that "Because our insurance company demands it" and "Because it is a [local | state] law" are popular and convenient excuses. Of late the insurance companies have gotten a worse rap than "the law" because when you claim that something is "the law" some jerk like me is liable to come around and ask for "chapter and verse." Underwriting requirements, on the other hand, are not a matter of public record as laws and legal rules are.

Knowing that insurers tend to adopt a scientific approach to loss management, the best conclusion I have come up with is that a lot of decisions are made because it seems to be a good idea, or because there are recurring problems. I'm more inclined to blame the legal department that says, "If you don't do this, and if something goes wrong, you could lose big." Even among the designers, sometimes I think seating is designed based on what seems like a good idea instead of based on what is really needed. How else do you explain those loops of webbing on bumper cars which will either strangle the rider or accomplish absolutely nothing at all.......

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
(falling asleep at the keyboard so I hope this makes sense)
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Wednesday, August 23, 2000 8:54 PM
The retrofitting of Schwarzkopf loopers with shoulder restraints is the direct result of the West Edmunton Mall accident. Much was made of the fact that the cars didn't have them, while the products of other companies did. There was a lot of politics involved with that investigation which I won't go into. The final judgement resulted in one of the great designers to bow out of the picture.
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Thursday, August 24, 2000 8:13 AM
The center-of-gravity argument is an excellent point. I'm going to introduce another argument, as well.

Ignore all the issues with headbanging, sliding, etc, for now -- let's assume a designer makes a PERFECT shoulder harness and a PERFECT lapbar.

Now get stuck upside down in a loop. Where would you rather have all your weight pressing against a restraint -- on some of the thinnest bones of your body (collarbones), or some of the thickest (thigh bones)?


To me, that right there should end the debate. Shoulder harnesses are an abomination. Even the mighty B&M, whose coasters I love, are wrong in this aspect.

Now, for some rides I CAN see them -- designing a lapbar restraint in an inverted ride would be an interesting trick. Ditto the standups -- shoulder harnesses there work as PART of a pretty elaborate system.

But for a good ol' sitdown, lapbars are the ONLY way to go...


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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
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Thursday, August 24, 2000 11:59 AM
I get a more secure feeling when I ride Son Of Beast with just the lap bar, but I don't feel unsafe when I ride a coaster with over-the-shoulder-restraints. Now, it is a matter of opinion which you feel is better, but i personally don't care what kind of a reatraint is on the coaster, as long as there is some sort of a functioning restraint on it. But that is just my opinion.

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http://www.coasterriders.freeservers.com
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Thursday, August 24, 2000 12:28 PM
Greg typed...

Now, for some rides I CAN see them -- designing a lapbar restraint in an inverted ride would be an interesting trick. Ditto the standups -- shoulder harnesses there work as PART of a pretty elaborate system.

A lap bar on an inverted coaster would be an interesting trick, but certainly not difficult or impossible. Consider any chairlift with a lap bar, for instance...without too much effort that basic design could be adapted to be individually adjustable.......

On the stand-ups, yes indeed, that's a pretty elaborate system. Personally, I prefer the Togo design to the B&M design because the Togo design is failsafe (just poorly proportioned)...if ALL of the latches fail and EVERYTHING comes open, you're still not coming out of the seat...! With the B&M, if all four latch pawls fail, the shoulder bar pops open and you're gone.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Thursday, August 24, 2000 1:13 PM
Most of the B&M coasters i have ridden have a seat belt that would prevent the shoulder restraints from opening.
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Thursday, August 24, 2000 1:38 PM
Ok, Dave has a good point on the chairlift. As a snowboarder and Kennywood local I should've thought of that ;) An inverted coaster would still require more than the simple bar the chairlifts use, but the IDEA could be similar...



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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
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