Regardless of whether we visit a fair, carnival, amusement park or other location we expect to have a good safe day of fun. We expect for the park staff to take all reasonable actions to minimize the risk for injury. Furthermore, we expect all rides to be in good working order and free from known defects. Unfortunately, two recent incidents at Texas carnivals and amusement parks calls these expectations into question. While only one of the incidents produced a death and injury, both situations were very serious and involved extremely dangerous circumstances.
Maine has had a rather difficult history concerning its regulation and safety of amusement parks and other attractions over the past few years. With accidents ranging from the hayride accident that killed a teen to two carnival accidents over the course of two consecutive days, the spotlight has been squarely placed on safety in this industry. The accidents described have been rather high-profile and highlighted the fact that Maine, like most states, relies on a less than comprehensive regulatory regime concerning amusements, carnivals, and other attractions. In fact, at the national level, our system at regulation can only at best be described as a patchwork.
When parents take their children and families to amusement parks, they expect to experience a safe, fun day of thrills and entertainment. For the majority of guests, this is certainly the experience they enjoy. However, for a small number of visitors, their day of family fun can transform into a nightmare where serious bodily injuries are inflicted. Unfortunately, unlike a nightmare, the consequences of an amusement park accident do not vanish in an instant when the person wakes up. Rather, these injuries cause pain and suffering for months or years as the injured park guest recovers. In some cases, the injuries are permanent.
Last June we first reported on a rollercoaster accident that had occurred at Six Flags Great America located in California. At the time we wrote about how the accident had occurred on the the iFlight Deck rollercoaster. At the time, it was believed that the accident had occurred after a cell phone was dropped by one of the coaster’s riders. When a mechanic went to retrieve the phone for the guest, he was struck by a rollercoaster train that was subsequently sent down the track despite the worker being in a restricted area. Continue reading
When people think about potential sources of injury at an amusement park they typically first consider the most aggressively-styled and intimidating rides. Thus, when people think about injury risks at a theme park or amusement park, their mind will typically first consider major rollercoasters with aggressive loops, swoops, corkscrews, and drops. For other people, perhaps the immense height of a “Fire-fall” style ride comes to mind. However, the truth of the matter is that injury can occur on any ride in a theme park. Continue reading