Nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Want to know if you are? Go to the Centers for Disease Control's Body Mass Calculator. (Here's the one for kids.) You'd be surprised. I thought I was a normal weight, but found that, according to the BMI, I was overweight (185 lbs. for 5'9"). So I bought an exercise bike, hit the yoga studio, cut the dairy and got my weight back down (lost 20 lbs. in a year). And you know what? Coasters feel like I was a kid again.
Theme parks warn that people with heart, back or neck problems should not ride roller coasters. But those warnings do nothing to stop people who are at risk for heart problems, but who have not yet been explicitly diagnosed.
If you are overweight or have high blood pressure, you are at risk for a heart problem. Heck, if parks want to do more to ensure the safety of their visitors, parks ought to quit making larger roller coaster seats to accomodate "plus sized" riders and start warning folks with high blood pressure off rides, too.
But, the market wants to enjoy itself at theme parks, not suffer reminders of their lousy physical condition. Which is why, I think, that you'll see in the next 10 years fewer major new attractions based on physical thrills, such as roller coasters, and more based on story, setting and simulated physical thrills.
We could get Americans in better shape. But there are too many economic forces in this country that like a system where health care is optional, fast food is cheap and no one lives within walking distance of anything.
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).
And I think most of us our guilty of what Gareth speaks of...
Whats going on?
Your woory is a conservative do-gooder coming in and slapping regulation on business. I think you have your political parties backwards. It is the liberals that like slapping regulation on business. Consevative are the party of let-business-be, as long as said business has made the appropriate contribution to the political campaign.
How many people die in car accidents every year while driving to/from an amusement park? What is it, 15 deaths per billion miles driven in the U.S. 200 million theme park visits? Let's say 4 people per car (high), you have 50 million trips. Let's say the average trip is ONLY 100 miles round trip(low, I drive 700+ miles a dozen times a year) then you'd be looking at 5 billion miles driven to/from theme parks. That is 60 deaths in car accidents.
If the number of deaths in theme parks gets higher than the number of deaths driving to/from theme parks, then maybe we need to look at the problem.
Until then, it is not a problem... in my opinion.
Is it just me, or is the public just getting stupider?
Expanding on what Robert Niles mentioned in regards to indoor attractions, let's see some benefits of indoor attractions:
1) more comfortable work environment for employees2) less standing in the sun waiting in line for riders3) easier to maintain (indoor)4) not easily affected by the weather5) because of #4, more people will stay in the park during inclement weather=more time for people to spend money in the park6) also because of #4, less wear/tear/aging on the ride itself7) can appeal to a wider audience8) less noise to affect the area in which it is located (important for themed areas)9) like Curse of Darkastle, sometimes can be upgraded with new moves/effects/sequences=longer lifespan for said ride
Just another opinion
FWIW, there's zippo chance of any legal body in the U.S. regulating roller coasters out of existence. Republicans won't regulate anything that doesn't involve sex, drugs or rock n' roll and all Democrats have ever proposed is better record-keeping.
And Busch's legal liability here is zilch, too.
On the other front, the suggestions of weather are dead on. It does make a ride, in this case, Gwazi terrible. Look at that compared to say, The Beast. The age of Gwazi and the condition of the tracks are really shocking when you look at the age of Beast and its condition. Something that is that big of an investment really needs to be taken care of. Again, the ride itself did not kill the man, but the climate surely had something to do with it, and perhaps he would have waited til he got back in his vehicle and home before he died were the ride indoors.
That being said, it's always sad when things like this happen, and it's another reminder to us to try to be a little more aware of the shape we are in, and that the warning signs posted are there for a reason. It could also be a warning to take care of yourself in the Florida heat. Unfortunately this time, a preexisting condition was bad enough to be deadly when mixed a thrill ride.I think that to an extent, visitors have always ignored medical warnings. I almost think that it's human nature to downplay any kind of problem they may have, and also human nature to sometimes think that it can't happen to us. The problem is that the condition of the average human being isn't the greatest lately. Ignorance of warnings isn't anything new, and in reality, neither is a death on a thrill ride. I'm not meaning to be insensitive here, I'm just stating the truth. It happens, sometimes a couple times in a year, and sometimes it doesn't happen all season... and the best the park and the manufacturers can do is take care of their rides, turn away those obviously not fit to ride, and warn all other comers that they should be in decent physical health to ride. It's up to us to take care of ourselves and make the decision.
1-The obvious decline in health of the average citizen. We're bombarded with the information on a daily basis regarding the obesity rate in the country as well as the accompanying health risks of that weight. We also are a far less active society. Thanks to technology, Tv's and computers, video games and the internet, etc, etc, etc we are a much less physically active society.
2-Increased intensity of rides. Personally, out of all the contributing factors, I think this is the one that plays the smallest role, however it does play a role. I'm not denying that we are pushing the limits with the types of thrills being built, but if you look at the list of rides that have had issues it does not point exclusively at those newer, limit pushing attractions.
3-The weather. Not matter what your scientific and/or political stance is on global warming, theres no denying that the weather patterns have been more extreme in recent years. Wether that means greater numbers of more powerful tropical storms, longer hotter droughts, or just plain higher temps exposure to these things is an issue. If people are not accustomed to the hot, humid weather of Florida they are going to have issues when they attempt to spend multiple full days exploring our theme parks. Heck, I'm a native Floridian and I was overwhelmed by the weather just shopping around town yesterday.
4-Attitudes regarding rules and responsibilities. As an employee of a public school I can tell you without a doubt that attitudes regarding rights, responsibilities and entitlements are extremely selfish in this country (I see it in the students and the parents as well as the random strangers I encounter elsewhere). Too many people seem to think that freedom means they can do whatever they want, whenever they want and that if something goes wrong it's someone else's fault. The average citizen is extremely likely to blow off any and all warnings because they want to ride the ride.
I'm sure there are other factors playing a role, but these are the main ones that I see. I really don't see what the parks or the governing bodies can do to address the situation. The way I see it, the problem comes down to personally responsility. We each have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to maintain better standards of health for ourselves and to be aware of any potential problems. We also have a responsibility to prepare ourselves properly for the conditions we will be experiencing. You can't just expect that after sitting in an air conditioned office all year, you'll be fine for several long days in the hot Florida or California sun.
First off, this is Gwazi. This isn't Mission: Space--and it sure isn't Top Thrill Dragster or Kingda Ka. Gwazi isn't winning any awards for fastest, tallest or most extreme coaster anytime soon, so this certainly is not a killer coaster. In fact, if you look at the Safety Data here on TPI, you'll notice that the only other Gwazi-related accident reported occurred in 2002 (listed under Gwazi Lion) and it was never even verified.
So what's with all the big hoopla? What happened that all of a sudden it seems like more and more people are dying from conditions that have been aggravated from theme park rides? Why, suddenly, does it seem that a month can't go by without some news report on a ride-related death?
The answer is September 5th, 2003: when one man was killed and ten others injured after a serious accident on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. Try to think, before then, how many times you heard a news story that reported on theme park-related deaths? Is it logical to think that, from that year on, there just happened to be a sudden rash of accidents related to theme park attractions?
I think the real cause for the calamity is the media. Isn't it possible that now, after a serious accident where the blame lay squarely on the theme park, that every death of every theme park guest is fodder for news ratings and newspaper sales? Could it be that park guests who fell ill and later died at a hospital PRIOR to this sad event weren't worthy of a little blurb, let alone a national news article? You know the old journalist saying: "If it bleeds, it leads."
What made the Disney accident such a big deal was how many theorists--myself included--blamed the cost-cutting practices the company had implemented that not only tarnished the show quality of the theme parks, but also the safety and maintenance standards as well.
I see the unusually warm weather as a contributing factor in this recent accident. I also see the poor health of Americans, in general, as something that plays a vital role in a persons ability to withstand some of the "extreme" forces generated by these rides. But I think, when you come down to it, all you've got is overblown media hype, produced by the well-oiled gossip machine that we've all been confined to in some form or another.