Keep Your Hands and Feet in the Ride at All Times

A number of years ago I was at an amusement park with my family. While my son and I were riding a roller coaster, my wife, her mother, and my youngest son decided to go on the Sky Ride, a staple of many amusement parks, where patrons can view the park from above in a gondola/Ski Lift type device. As the car they were in slowly made its way, providing a pleasant view, the leg from a patron in the car in front of them fell off landing on the ground below. My mother-in-law who figured she was on the safest and gentlest ride in the park nearly had a heart attack. It turned out that the leg that dropped was a prosthetic leg, and fell due to the pull of gravity as a result of the leg dangling from the ride. Luckily, the leg did not land on anyone, having dropped onto a fenced off grassy area, and was easily recovered, hopefully undamaged. When I learned what had happened I jokingly told my family that the patron clearly did not heed the rules of the ride which clearly stated "Keep your hand and feet in the ride at all times". I bring this up because a 17 year old girl who was born without hands is now complaining that she was barred from riding the Kraken coaster in Sea World. While one must respect her desire to not be held back by her condition, sometimes safety must take precedence over valor. According to Sea World the manufacturers guidelines require that a guest be able to grasp the pull down harness with at least one hand. It is expected that a lot of safety testing occurs before a roller coaster is designed or opened for public use. The failure of a ride operator to abide by the recommended safety guidelines of a ride would clearly open them to liability in the case of a resulting injury. For example, a man with no legs who was allowed to ride the Ride of Steel Coaster at the Darien Lake Theme Resort was thrown from the ride. Most rides have height and/or weight limits posted. But not every restriction can be posted and common sense must prevail. Let's hope common sense prevails here and the the young lady and the amusement park can work something out without dragging the media or the courts into the matter. Perhaps a nice swim with some dolphins would calm everyone down. If you are injured in an accident at an amusement park or elsewhere please call us 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463) to discuss your rights. The lawyers at Zalman Schnurman & Miner will be happy to provide a free consultation on your personal injury claims.

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