I happened across a great post on one of my favorite law blogs, ThePopTort, concerning the horrible tragedy that occurred on the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas. As most readers of this blog will know, a 52-year old woman was killed a few weeks ago when she fell out of the ride while it negotiated some kind of twisting turn at a high rate of speed. The original PopTort blog post really touched on two issues – the lack of government regulation and oversight when it comes to thrill rides such as roller coasters, and the type of riders that the rides are designed to accommodate. Since I’ve previously discussed the regulatory picture in Florida (or lack thereof) when it comes to theme parks, I found the elements of the post in the ThePopTort blog dealing with ride design most interesting. According to Ken Martin, an amusement park ride and safety expert, most of today’s thrill ride designers fail to properly take into account the increasing size of the average human — and especially the average American. It seems that most rides are designed to accommodate a 180 lb. adult – which is supposed to represent 95 percent of the riding population. According to the Centers for disease control the average weight for American males is 191 lbs., and 161 lbs. for females – which means that are a lot of possible too-large people riding the rides. According to Mr. Martin, this extra weight causes a lot more force to be exerted on ride safety restraints, and also means that ride restraints might not fit the the rider the way they are supposed to. Either way, the inconsistency between ride design and the size of the actual riders creates a potentially very dangerous situation which, in the Six Flags case, may have ultimately resulted in a lady’s death. If you have any questions following a Florida theme park accident or injury, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...Read More »
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