Amusement park rides are meant to give patrons a thrill, but this ride goes a bit too far. With defective and dangerous parts, the Yo-Yo ride made by Chance Rides Manufacturing was involved in two accidents. The collapse of the ride in May injured twenty-three people in Angels Camp. Back in March 2006, a malfunction at Six Flags Over Texas left nine people with bruises and strains.
Only eighty-five of the rides have been recalled, but all owners and regulators will be issued a new maintenance guide and a kit to identify potential problems.
Amusement park rides are no strange thing to California. With Disneyland, Marine World, the California State Fair, 50+ county fairs, SeaWorld, Raging Waters, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and many, many others, California has had more than its share of ride accidents. Really, when you think about it, our track record is amazing. Every year maybe only three or four people get hurt. Take a look at www.rideaccidents.com, it is kind of scary to see a whole list of accidents, but based on the number of rides out there, there really is a very low percentage of injury or death.
Amusement park rides are regulated by federal, state, and local rules (well, at least some are). I was surprised to learn that there is a difference between “amusement park rides” and “carnival rides.” Where carnival rides are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (my favorite commission), amusement park rides are “exempt from all federal safety oversight”.
Beyond that, the rules and regulations vary from state to state. California has very active public safety officials that inspect, investigate, and prepare public reports on the safety of rides, but some states only require self-inspection for ride owners, and some have no safety laws. Florida alone has state standards and then exempts its three largest parks from those standards.
The next time you go to the fair, you may want to do some research on the rides first. And take a look at the back of your ticket if you’re issued one, many times it will have a bunch of legal language in small print denying liability if you get injured at the fair.
So what recourse do you have if you are injured by an amusement park ride? I don’t know, I am not a lawyer, but I work for lawyers, so please give us a call. You do take a certain risk when you want a thrill, but you also have an expectation of walking away unharmed. It is not unreasonable to assume the rides are safe.