Safe Adventures: Amusement Is Fine, but Parks Heed the Rules

By Trugman, Kristan | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 12, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Safe Adventures: Amusement Is Fine, but Parks Heed the Rules


Trugman, Kristan, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


It doesn't matter much to the fainthearted how safe amusement rides are - they're not riding. Nor does it matter to the lionhearted - they'll ride no matter what.

But to the pragmatic masses who fall somewhere in between, the safety of carnival and amusement rides matters a great deal. And each time tragedy strikes - as it did this month at a water slide in California - it matters a little bit more as many wonder who ensures the safety of such attractions.

Elvin Jones, 19, operates the Iron Eagle at Adventure World in Largo. One day last week, he checked the riders to make sure each one was properly fastened before he flipped the switch to start the ride.

But an unusual noise prompted him to beckon a supervisor, and they closed the Eagle to investigate. The ride, which rotates 360 degrees and spins its passengers more than 82 feet in the air, quickly reopened.

Ride operators are the first line of defense in enforcing safety. Behind them are company inspectors. Checking behind them are insurance companies' watchmen. State and local governments also conduct spot and routine inspections.

But at Adventure World, as at all permanent and temporary amusement parks and carnivals, safety also depends on riders.

On June 2, visitors to a water park in Concord, Calif., were not adhering to the rules when a water slide collapsed, killing one person and injuring 32 others. The slide collapsed after a group of high school seniors on an outing ignored warnings to slide down individually and overwhelmed the slide's superstructure, witnesses told police.

That California water park is run by Premier Parks, an Oklahoma-based corporation that is one of the world's largest theme-park companies and also owns Adventure World.

"The first thing you think about [upon hearing of the California incident] is the well-being and safety of those involved. In the industry, the No. 1 priority across the system is safety," Adventure World spokesman Thomas Hall says.

Signs are posted throughout Adventure World to explain the intensity level of the rides and park rules, including those against horseplay on rides.

If guests are suspected of breaking the rules or attempting to break them, lifeguards or amusement ride operators call security guards, Mr. Hall says.

"As a guest in the park, people must be aware of the rules and regulations and the responsibility they must employ in using the park," he says. "We don't tolerate misconduct."

The World Waterpark Association reported three deaths at water parks between 1990 and 1992. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission last year estimated that 100 people died and 7,500 were injured on amusement park rides in 1995, the latest figures available.

In Virginia, the state Board of Housing and Community Development writes the laws regulating amusement rides. The rules are distributed to local jurisdictions for inspection and enforcement.

"These parks are in the business of assuring their rides are safe. They are there for the long haul and have a decent track record," Norman Crumpton, associate director of Virginia's building code office, says of the three major amusement parks in the state - Paramount's Kings Dominion in Doswell, Water Country USA near Williamsburg and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Safe Adventures: Amusement Is Fine, but Parks Heed the Rules
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?