I have stopped going to Cedar Point because of this problem. I was able to ride everything, then after the incident at the Six Flags where the New England man fell out of the Superman ride because of the Lap bar not being properly engaged and he happend to have a large belly, Cedar Point and many other parks changed the restraints to fit only people within a certian frame size. I returned to the park a year later only to find that I no longer could ride Mellium, TTD, and had to squeeze and struggle into Raptor, Mantis, Magnum. The only rides I did not have to squeeze into and actually enjoyed because I was not thinking of how cramped and uncomfortable was The Power Tower and MaxX Air. I was very dissatisfied with the experience, and asked Cedar Point for an explanation, and recieved an email saying it was the manufactures that set the requirement. I responded and said that why was the requirement different for 5 years prior to this year, and got a generic response. I think they are loosing alot of business because of this issue.
It's not always a weight issue with the seatbelts. It's more of a proportion issue. I'm 6'3 and run around 225-230, but I have an athletic build and a 36 inch waist. I fit into the rides fine, but someone shorter with more around the midsection would have more trouble. That's why the test seats are at the queue entrance. The B&M's at the park (Raptor, Mantis) have what are called "big seats" in a couple places on the train.
Cedar Point is following the recommendations of the ride manufacturer with their restraint policies. The restraint issue with Intamin rides came directly down from the manufacturer, and following these requirements is probably A) In the contract with the manufacturer, and B) keeps insurance costs down...not to mention increasing safety.
I understand that some are bigger by nature. Athletes are a prime example of larger framed people. They are the exception though, for the vast majority of bigger people (excluding those with illness) are big by their own doing. Obesity/being overweight is a huge problem in this country, and it's gotten to the point where we at this site have discussions on a regular basis regarding the subject of people not fitting on rides...a prime example of what's going on in the US
The bottom line, these rides are designed to go fast, climb high and spin upside down. The trains are only designed so wide, but they are designed to comfortably hold the average human being. It's unfortunate when naturally big/tall people can't make it into the seats, because in that case, it probably can't be helped. I don't mean to be too offensive here, but here comes some truth. For the other 95% of those large people out there who complain...if you don't fit, than perhaps it's time to lose weight, because not being able to fit into the seat of a roller coaster...a ride designed for a moderately healthy average sized human being... is a problem, and it's your problem.
Parks are responsible only for giving us killer rides and keeping us safe, and the size of a seat on a ride is the same size it's always been. There are big seats on a lot of rides these days anyway. It's a bummer for guys like Gary and other athletes and those with illness. Unfortunately for them, it may always be a pain. Everyone else in the complaint line, be quiet or fix the problem, because you have no case.
Besides do athletes not get to the large frame you are on about by training??
so its just as much an athletes fault not being able to ride as someone who eats too much??
Oh and what exactly does the averange human being look like??
Some people will put on weight even looking at a chip but other people could eat 20 portions and not even put on a 1lb.
why shouldn't parks try and ensure that all can ride, the Hulk (IOA) has a row of seats that are made for bigger people so why cant others?
Just curious - what exactly is an "athletic build"? Marathon runners and bicyclists tend to be thinner than some football players and bowlers and would fit easily on rides.
Look, I'm not trying to be on any kind of high horse or stand on a soapbox with this subject. How someone chooses to live is their business, and that is just fine with me. Some who are overweight have illnesses, and many athletes are just bigger human beings in general. Others just don't take very good care of themselves. Those who can't do much about their size have a more valid reason to be unhappy than those who can do something about it, and it's unfortunate when those who can't help their size...for whatever reason...are unable to enjoy certain rides. However, safety is the first priority with these rides, even at the expense of making some customers unhappy. That lesson was learned the hard way with the Intamin mega/giga coaster, when somebody who was 5'2" and 230 lbs with cerebral palsy rode, was thrown from, and died... on Superman at Six Flags NE.
Millennium Force at Cedar Point goes 300 feet in the air and 95 miles per hour, pulling probably around 4 G's at max. The trains have stadium seating and open sides. The restraint is a T-Bar, which according to ride specifications... (which parks follow), should be lowered to a certain point to be safe. The measuring stick for that distance is a seat belt. If it's not able to be buckled, than the T-bar isn't down far enough to be deemed safe. The seat belt is there to measure and to remove discretion from the ride ops, a measure that was put into place and enforced after the accident. In the case of this ride, a big boy seat wasn't built, and may not have even been possible in the first place. It's not any kind of a discrimination issue, it's a safety issue, and while ridemakers and parks are doing more to accomodate larger riders these days, they don't have a responsibility to do so on every attraction that they offer.
That's why you should never try to beat the height requirement on rides, they're designed to hold a certain size person, child or adult. I assume that's why some coaster manufactures are designing big boy seats, to accommodate larger guests like you Gary and John, to keep you from falling out if you passed out for whatever reason.
And Derek, you make some valid points, and I tend to agree with you. But no safety device can hold you in, if the ride operaters don,t make sure they are properly adjusted for each person.