Roller Coasters

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Roller coasters, varying from carnival kiddie coasters to theme park “Giga” coasters, are the heart of the theme park industry and the engine driving its success. Though typically reliable in performance and safe by amusement industry standards, mechanical and control failures do occur. To help keep the public better informed about the potential dangers of roller coasters, it’s important to spread awareness about the types of mechanical and control failures that are known to put the lives of trusting consumers in danger.

Roller Coaster Mechanical and Control Failures

Here is a list of some of these mechanical and control failure occurrences:

  • Brake failures resulting in collisions between cars or trains in the load station.
  • Hard stops usually attributed to a control system error.
  • Getting stuck in some portion of the track by various mechanical failures on the car or train.
  • Failures of restraint systems resulting in injuries within the vehicle or ejections from the vehicle.

Injury Causes

Injuries on roller coasters have resulted from the following:

  • Ejections from the ride.
  • Neck and back injuries from brake failures, jamming, or rough action of the roller coaster.
  • Contusions, pinches, or other injuries from restraints.
  • Injuries from falls onto or between the tracks at load stations.

Types of Injuries

Types of documented roller coaster injuries are listed below:

  • Fatalities by blunt force trauma due to ejection.
  • Brain injuries including aneurysms, swelling, and brain bleeds.
  • Cervical and lumbar spine fractures
  • Broken collar bones
  • Severed limbs and digits

Roller Coaster Types

The most widely known roller coasters include the following:

4th Dimension Roller Coaster – this is a type of Steel Roller Coaster in which riders are rotated independently of the orientation of the track, generally about a horizontal axis that is perpendicular to the track.

Accelerator Coaster – a long, straight launch track that has a tower, known as a “top hat,” and magnetic brakes that smoothly stop the train without touching it. After the top hat, the layout varies widely, ranging from a flat brake run to several inversions.

Bobsled Roller Coaster – uses a track design that is essentially a “pipe” with the top half removed and has cars that are sent down the pipe in a freewheeling mode.

Dive Coaster – has wide trains, usually consisting of two or three rows each seating 6 to 10 passengers. Seating is employed in such a way as to provide all riders a clear view. At the top of the primary vertical drop, a braking system holds the train for 3 to 5 seconds, giving riders a view of the drop ahead.

Valuable Lives and Momentary Thrills

For some, spreading awareness of roller coaster risks and focusing on the shortcomings may seem like the fun is being taken away from life when it really may help prevent lives from ending.

Keep yourself, your friends, and your loved ones informed. You deserve to know about the unspoken dangers of roller coasters that are right under your nose, or above your head, depending on how you look at it.