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The ride of your life or not?

Amusement parks are a place for fun and excitement. It is a place where families and friends let go of the worries of their daily lives in exchange for a taste of adventure. As the school summer holidays are approaching families and children around the UK will be organising days out.

Unfortunately, some leave the amusement park with life-altering personal injuries, turning a day of simple fun into a nightmare.

The recent news of the incident at M&D’s theme park near Glasgow reveals how dangerous rollercoasters can be. At least 7 people were badly injured when a carriage on the ‘Tsunami ride’ derailed and fell from a 20 metre height onto another ride below. According to M&D’s website the Tsunami can go at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour through corkscrew turns and loops. A full investigation is currently underway by the Scottish police and the Health and Safety Executive.

In the wake of the accident on the ‘Smiler’ ride at Alton towers which left four people seriously injured, Britain’s theme parks have moved to reassure visitors about the safety of their attractions.

Whilst writing, news emerged of the ‘Colossus’ rollercoaster ride in Thorpe Park being stopped after a passenger was seen on CCTV with their leg hanging out of the carriage. This reveals park employees are taking more caution to prevent injuries to riders.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) say the chance of being injured on an amusement park ride is one in 24 million.

The IAAPA have provided following safety guidance to visitors going on rollercoaster rides:

  • Obey listed age, height, weight and health restrictions
  • Observe all posted ride safety rules and follow all verbal instructions given by ride operators or provided by recorded announcements
  • Keeps hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride at all times and secure all loose items
  • Remain seated at all times
  • Always use safety equipment provided and never attempt to wriggle free of or loosen restraints or other safety devices

I am currently representing a client who sustained back injuries after a carriage on a ride collided into my client’s carriage. In my opinion, more vigorous tests and safety checks need to be carried out prior to allowing the public to go on such rides.