Dating all the way back to the 15th century, roller coasters have been flipping, twisting, and pleasing riders for hundreds of years. Of course with all of the rapid movement brings attention to some cautious thrill seekers who are concerned about the build and general safety of the rides. Although it is almost certain that the risk of injury on a ride is very slim, that small margin can mean someone’s life.
According to a 2011 statistics there is a 0.000000008% chance of someone getting hurt while on a ride, which is extremely small. So small that if you were to put it into scientific notation it would look like this; 1×10^9. Some common causes of fatality or injury on rides can be a malfunction with the seat mechanism resulting in the harness to come open, corrosion causing the ride to be weak and unstable, parts that are no longer in operating condition that were not replaced, etc. An example of such being the fatal accident when a woman fell out of a roller coaster after not being correctly secured in on a ride at 6 flags in Arlington, Texas back in 2013.
Surprisingly, a study tracked that about 21% of injuries from amusement parks happen on Merry-Go-Rounds and Carousel. Hearing this, it can make people feel like going on any ride is a major risk, even the ones that seem the safest and don’t leave the ground! This can also be a great explanation as to why select few do not necessarily “like” roller coasters or rides in general. It can be understood why of course due to the tragedies that are often times seen all over social media or in the news. But if we were really looking into it, considering the stats, you have a greater chance of getting hurt in a car accident on the way to an amusement park than you do actually on the ride. Although many parks use other specialty companies to periodically inspect rides, unintended accidents do frequently occur and can almost never be predicted. A look at a few of the popular Amusement Parks such as Michigan’s Adventure, 6 Flags, Cedar Point, and King’s Island have been kicking around as long ago as 147 years, as little as 45 years and everywhere in between. It is almost assumed by most that functionality tests and routine checks are put into place frequently and that big establishments like these will “know what they are doing.”
Taking into thought the Arlington incident mentioned earlier, there has recently been another tragedy at an amusement park far north of Texas. These accidents as you may have already known aren’t designated in one general area or region. They have been happening all over the U.S. This particular one is on the opposite side of the equator and might grab the attention of thousands of people in the state, and surrounding it.
Ohio, home of the Buckeyes, was founded by New Englanders and has been around for over 200 years. The state houses Cleveland which is known for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ohio brings tourists from across the whole U.S.,including some from Michigan, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, its neighboring states, because of its many attractions. There are so many places to go and things to see. Activities such as Museums, Zoo and Wildlife Parks, Coney Island, and Kings Island attract people from all over the states. A more inexpensive alternative to loads of family fun being state fairs.
Ohio, happening to have one of the largest state fairs in the United States, suffered from an attendance drop due to the horrific accident that killed 18 year-old Tyler Jarrell and injured several riders. Others who stood in line for rides witnessed the Fireball, a popular carnival ride known for its aggressive thrill, collapsed due to corrosion sending at least 2 people flying into the air. One was in serious condition and the other two’s injuries were critical of the 3 patients that were taken to the Wexner Medical Center claimed by the Hospital. The remaining 4 were admitted to the Ohio Health Grant Medical Center where we have yet to hear an update on their condition.
The Fireball, which became one of the most popular thrill rides in 2002, passed inspection according to Chief Ride Inspector Michael Vartorella. Even with no red flags, the Fireball proved itself to be deadly on June 26th, 2017, after this tragedy. Gov. John Kasich and the Dutch manufacturer, KMG, ordered all fair rides to be shut down immediately including all similar ones world-wide after this
accident took place. Fair attendance decreased 20% the next day after it apparently scared off thousands of possible attendees. Some of which quoting “its my worst nightmare” and “I just don’t think I’ll ever ride a ride ever again.” Despite the over 920,000 people the Ohio State Fair draws in, many of which may not be seen any time soon. Even with rides not in operation, the fair saw over 100,000 people Saturday, 3 days after the incident. This shows that the state fairs are more than just amusement rides. If people knew what fairs were really about, having fun with one another and spreading diversity and happiness, then they would come regardless of the in-operable rides….and that’s exactly what they did!