THEME PARKS AND THRILL RIDES FROM THE LENS OF CONSUMER PROTECTION          

Over time, the number of people visiting theme parks is growing. The entire idea of theme parks is likely to have its origin in Europe in the 19th century. In the U.S., this concept comes from the first theme park of Walt Disney, “Disneyland,” which opened in 1955 in Anaheim, California. Media content can influence the attitudinal aspects of the theme dominance explained the affective dimensions of theme park evaluation.

It supports the notion that media content can influence the attitudinal aspects of the international theme parks. They may have used simple heuristic signals to assess international theme parks. Consumers generally do not have direct opportunities to visit and construct specific images of parks, and media content may be a significant background to theme parks in shaping specific images. Theme parks are a successful background to city branding. The affective dimensions in particular were the key elements of the theme park assessments. The impact influences attitudes towards the city brand and attracts greater attention to the importance of the effect.

Researchers support the crucial role of affection on city branding, meaning emotional bonds are more important for building a city’s brand than other relationships. In addition to that, the affective impact of a theme park on the brand image of its host city. It suggests that appealing to the emotions of tourists can be an effective strategy to lead them to visit the city, including the theme park, when we consider tourism as a representative product of hedonic services.

Whether one love the adrenaline rush of a roller-coaster ride – the more unexpected twists, the better – or prefer the slow flowing movement of flying chairs, whether you are a frequent visitor to amusement parks or just go there to “drop off the kids,” we’ll be more comfortable knowing that norms guarantee your safety and that of your loved ones. Thousands of people nationally and internationally enjoy trillions of rides at theme parks, fairgrounds and other public sites every year. Injuries per billion ride cycles are one hundred times lower on extreme amusement rides than on air transport and one thousand times lower than in car transport.

The market for amusement rides is largely dependent on developed countries selling amusement equipment to developing nations. This generates globally conforming hurdles. Standards that emerge from Europe, the United States and a number of other countries are currently being adopted in different parts of the world. However, all of these standards differ, so safety specifications vary from place to place. It also makes it harder for manufacturers to keep pace on the global market and for buyers to pick the best suppliers. International Standards therefore clearly need to regulate the safety of amusement rides and devices. These will complement the best practices used by national manufacturers and operators and ensure that all rides around the world are subject to the same requirements.

Applying these standards effectively to the manufacture and application of amusement rides will further significantly raise safety of the public. This will also guarantee that government overseers across the globe adopt a widely accepted approach to security inspections. This is particularly essential in developing countries, which often seem to have little experience operating amusement rides and parks, and have the highest rate of incidents so far.

The amusement park rides are in full swing during the summertime. A day at the amusement park is supposed to be carefree and fun, but these innocent outings sometimes end up in tragedy, with lives forever changed. One of the most frightening things about amusement park rides is that there is no national safety and inspection standard for fixed-site operations. Even the most serious theme park ride mishaps can lead to death, and those who are injured by amusement park rides will be badly hurt.

The International Association for Amusement Parks predicts that 335 million people are visiting the amusement park every year, with an estimated 30,000 injuries associated with amusement parks in 2016. Injuries are caused from bruises and cuts to bone fractures and neurological damage resulting in brain injury.

Amusement park accidents most commonly caused injuries include: Injuries to the head, neck and back caused by impact and whiplash movements; Death caused by a fall or by a ride thrown off; Traumatic stroke suffered while riding; Traumatic G-force brain injury or falling head-striking objects; Brain aneurysms caused by the blood pressure on certain rides due to centrifugal force; Lacerations, torn ligaments, muscle strains, herniation of the discs and torn ligaments; Water slides, rides, and water drowning features rides and water parks.

Many other leading contributors to injuries and fatalities at the amusement park include: Mechanical setback. A common example of such a failure is when the lap bar disengages in the middle of the trip and the rider falls out and falls to death. Operation for improper ride. Operators fail to check seat belts or due to being in a rush or distracted, they do not secure harnesses properly. Misusing passengers. An example of this is when the rider stands up and ignores warnings that he will remain seated or willfully undo lap belts and harness. Nature inherent to the ride. Even without defects, errors in operation or abuse of the rider, a ride can still cause injury due to the nature of the ride.

Every year, thrilling rides attract more and more tourists as adventure seekers turn to amusement park rides for quick, gravity-defying thrills. In order to attract consumers for ever speedier thrill rides, amusement and theme park owners have emerged to question each other to build the speediest, longest, most loopy coasters.

As with many cases of personal injury and wrongful death, experts play a critical role in proving the defendant has deviated from a reasonable standard of care. In the case of amusement park rides, mechanical and aerospace engineers are often required to evaluate the ride in question and to evaluate what measures might or should have been taken to avoid injury or even death to the plaintiff. Also, to be consulted are safety experts with experience in amusement park rides, as well as biomechanics engineers and structural engineers.

Accidents at the Roller coaster include those on the best known:

  1. Demon Coaster – Proffer v. Six Flags Great America, Inc[i]. in which the complainants are sixteen people who have been suspended in the air for up to two hours due to a roller coaster malfunction.
  2. Shockwave – Rucker v. Paramount Parks, Inc.[ii] in which hearing loss during roller coaster ride in the right ear.
  3. Texas Giant – Cox v. Six Flags Over Texas, Inc.[iii] in which during Texas Giant roller coaster ride, little child cut on left ear.
  4. Rattler Roller Coaster – Howard v. Fiesta Texas Show Park, Inc.[iv] in which as he was riding the Rattler Roller Coaster, he had pain in his neck that emanated towards his right shoulder.
  5. Space Mountain –Trosclair v. Walt Disney World Company[v] in which injuries from unanticipated stoppage of the roller coaster.

Several other amusement park accidents are not the result of errors or action, but are induced by defective ride components or because of defective repairs or inadequate maintenance, evaluation and use. For example, the defective design of the lap bar may cause the bar to unravel mid-ride so that the rider falls to the ground. Structure or design defects in the ride itself may give rise to claims of product liability against the manufacturer of the ride or the manufacturer of the defective product.

Government regulation of a ride at an amusement park depends on whether the ride is classified as a fixed-site or mobile. Fixed site rides are permanent fixtures and do not travel between locations. Major, defined-site attractions such as the Six Flags and Disney theme parks come under state and municipal control jurisdiction. The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission for the use of travelling carnivals with rides. It depends on the State exactly which state agency regulates fixed site parks. There are no statewide regulations in 10 states but county inspectors are charged with oversight of the amusement park.

Also, there is a lack of consistency in how inspections are carried out. Some inspections of amusement parks are per year, while others are performed every six months. While it may put the brakes on your family’s anticipated visit to an amusement park, find out how frequently and by whom the park you plan to go is inspected. Although most often falling from roller coasters and similar thrill rides make headlines, inflatable rides represent the highest risk of death or serious injury.

Owners and operators of amusement parks should not hype the opening of a new ride before meeting their obligations to test it thoroughly for possible flaws which may not be seen in the diagrams. Owners must practice due precautions in constructing, managing and maintaining all lands and visitor facilities.

Since some states do not require the reporting to state or local authorities of an injury at an amusement park, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of accidents or injuries in theme parks and carnivals. There is still a lot of work to do but good progress has been made and regulations are being improved. Regular inspections during construction and every 3 months may be important for all hazardous rides, while families should also check the safety regulations of an amusement park before enjoying something that could end regrettably.

ENDNOTES

[i] Proffer v. Six Flags, No. 98 C 2621 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 22, 2000)

[ii] Rucker v. Paramount Parks, Inc., 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21005 (E.D. Va. 1995).

[iii] Cox v. Six Flags Over Texas, Inc., 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 1684 (Tex. App. 2000).

[iv] Howard v. Fiesta Texas Show Park, Inc., 980 S.W. 2d 716 (Tex. App. 1998).

[v] Trosclair v. Walt Disney World Company, 1993 WL 8307 (E.D. La. 1993).

Shivanshi Shukla