Waldameer accused of discrimination 5/17/2008

rsscbell's avatar
Was anybody witness to the blind kid's triple ride?

I had ask another park goer why the flyer had not run for over five minutes. They said a blind kid was on the ride and did not get off. He apparently went on three runs before they stopped anyone else from boading until he exited the ride. When he returned for anouther ride he was refused by Mr.Nelson. When asked why he said "because you are blind." I witnessed that confrotaion from outside the exit ramp. Now I saw a legally blind woman ride with no issues whatsoever. I think the kid should have been denied re-entry for his previous failure to follow the rules. Unfortunately the wrong thing was said.

Mr.Nelson was trying to use a "park rule" that the ride may be unsafe for a blind person not knowing when to brace for directonal changes. Story was on Fox 66 news at ten and is not online yet. www.yourerie.com is their website.

ROLLER COASTER RD rose twp. jeff co. T843
Honestly I CAN see being blind is an issue with any ride. The greatest question I have is how in the world would you get down in case of failure at the top of the lift or what have you.

Beyond that at 4.50 a ride, I say the kid stole 9 bucks from charity.

-Brent Kneebush

rsscbell's avatar
Story is now online.

ROLLER COASTER RD rose twp. jeff co. T843
Magnums, if getting people down the lift was such a concern, the parks would ban disabled riders as well. While it's a challenge to evacuate visually impaired or handicapped guests from rides, parks have plans for this. They just need staffers to assist or guide the riders down the walkways.

If sight is so important while riding a coaster, why don't parks advise you not to close your eyes? Why do parks run coasters at night or indoors in complete darkness? While you'll get a bumpier ride if you aren't able to see the track ahead, I sincerely doubt that the effect is significant enough as to be a safety issue. If the kid was banned from the ride for refusing to get off, that's one thing, but it's a huge mistake if it was because he was blind.

The bigger question: Why can't a blind person wait in line like everyone else?
Mark Small's avatar
Another question: If they have a policy that doesn't allow blind people to ride, how did he get on the ride in the first place?

I don't see any reason why a blind person shouldn't be allowed to ride though. As long as they can board the ride and safely fit in the restraints, they should be fine.

It's apparent that the ride ops were not willing to stop the boy from riding and needed more supervision before taking any action.

It's also apparent that the park is at no fault for this since it states that the ride's manufacturer is the one who put this stipulation in place.

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Mamoosh's avatar
...how in the world would you get down in case of failure at the top of the lift or what have you.

I'd wager that a vast majority of those who are blind are capable of grabbing onto a handrail and walking down a set of stairs. This isn't Mt. Everest we're talking about, lol!**

I don't see any legitimate reason for barring anyone who is visually-impared from enjoying any amusement park ride. I find it hard to believe any park would have such a restriction.

It sounds to me like there is more to this story than, if you'll pardon the pun, meets the eye.


(**by the way, a blind man has climbed Mt. Everest...twice!)

I saw the kid on Saturday. I can see both sides of the situation here. It can be dangerous to ride a ride as intense of the RF2 but the kid should not be banned from having fun. Yes he should of got off the ride when he was supposed too and yes he should of waited in line like everyone else. But they should allow him to ride.
I think he should have been able to ride just like others are saying. You can ride with your eyes closed, and some people do, so what's the difference?

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Mamoosh's avatar
Ken Jones sez: It can be dangerous to ride a ride as intense of the RF2...

Given what blind people can accomplish (aka the aforementioned climbing Mt Everest) in what way is it dangerous to ride RV2?

rsscbell's avatar
Again to clarify, he was denied re-admission because he distrurbed operation of the ride way beyond a reasonable level. He called the attention on himself and the ride staff did not want a repeat situation. Mr.Nelson was then called to alert him of this potenial problem. I think distrubing the ride operation is a acceptable enough reason to ban him without the weak legal liabilty b.s.

I have interacted with many handicap people in my lifetime and I never treat them any differtent than anybody else. This kid is one of the few that expects preferential treatment untill someone calls him on it. Then he throws the disrimination card. What a shame. *** Edited 5/19/2008 3:30:44 PM UTC by rsscbell***

ROLLER COASTER RD rose twp. jeff co. T843
a_hoffman50's avatar
But that is not the reason given for kicking him off the ride. The reason given is because he was blind. I often close my eyes on coasters and other rides and it has not been any more dangerous than with my eyes open. Something is wrong with this picture.
rsscbell's avatar
Mr.Nelson was looking for a legal reason to bar him which was unfortunatly a bad choice.

ROLLER COASTER RD rose twp. jeff co. T843
Sounds like Mr. Nelson is a little out of touch with reality. He doesn't need a reason to kick the kid off the ride--it's a private park, so he can tell people to do whatever he wants. If they broke a rule, he isn't even obligated to give a refund. If he discriminates on the basis of a disability that doesn't interfere with the operation of the ride, then oh boy, there will be trouble ahead.
a_hoffman50's avatar
There has to be more to this story...
The legal reason would have been that re-rides aren't allowed. The kid claimed that he was barred from other rides-- wonder what those were? Where were the friends who were assisting him during this episode? Did they stay on the ride as well?

There probably is a lot more to the story than we're reading now. But at first glance it sounds like the kid wants it both ways. You can't keep me from riding because I'm no different than anyone else-- but I shouldn't have to get off the ride and go back through the queue because I'm different from everyone else.

I saw the kid as well, but I think I caught him in a lie. In his interview last night he said he was with people, where he was actually alone on the coaster. Second, I do not think Nelson was discriminating. If it is true that manufacturer restrictions and/or liability reasons don't allow a blind person to ride, Nelson was right in that sense. Also, he is right that you need to be able to see what's ahead so you can brace yourself. However, Waldameer did mess up by letting him on the ride earlier. I think that the employees, because of the beginning of the season, were still not fully aware of all the rules yet, and that someone must have noticed the park rule violation in which the blind rider was later prevented from riding.

As stated, there must be more to the story.

a_hoffman50's avatar
I seriously doubt the manufacturers state that blind people should not ride. Do you really need to brace for the forces on the ride? I have ridden the Voyage with my eyes closed more than once and have lived to tell the tale. That is one reason for restraints.
This is just my opinion, But I think the only way Mr. Nelson is covered is if this was posted PRIOR in the parks disability guide and ride restrictions that INCLUDES BLIND.

Honestly. I've never seen blind as a restriction. Im sure it is for some rides at some parks but Im almost certain it isn't for most coasters at most parks.

Stuff like Prior Injuries, health conditions (High BP ect) Sit upright and be able to hold on or the norms.

If it's not posted anywhere that he couldn't ride being blind, UHT OH!


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