Published: July 26, 2006 at 12:53 PM
I think there are 3 things going on.
1) Theme parks started their comeback in the late 50s after Walt opened DL. Most of the big parks of today were opened between 55 and 75.
My dad's generation (pre-baby-boom) did not grow up with lots of coasters around. He never started on them. Most in his generation didn't.
The baby boomers, particularly the last half, did grow up with coasters. Well, those people are now pushing 50 and are still riding coasters.
Yep, I turn 40 next year, and I don't see stopping riding coasters anytime in the next couple decades.
2) People who were shy of coasters, like my parents, wouldn't let me go on a serious coaster until I was a teen. I was tall enough, but not allowed.
People my age and younger have no problem taking a kid on a coaster as soon as they meet the height requirement.
3) There are just more people going on more extreme rides.
If 10 million people a year are riding 10 extreme rides a year, and a death occurs 1 in every 100 million... well, 1 death a year.
If 100 million people a year are riding 20 extreme rides a year, and a death occurs 1 in every 100 million, then 20 deaths a year.
So, more people riding more rides. More older people riding. More younger people riding.
Then there is the obvious... the rides are more extreme. WAY more extreme.
As for how long amusement parks will accept the laibility... well, people don't really win cases against the theme parks as long as they had adequite qarnings up and it wasn't an obvious fault of the theme park (like DL's BTMRR train coming apart).