Amusement Parks: Safe Summer Fun or Hidden Danger?

Summer brings amusement park season, a time many look forward to for the adrenaline rush of thrill rides. While the adrenaline may be a given, the safety of that ride you board may not come with the same guarantee.

The New York Daily News recently reported that regulation of amusement park ride safety is patchy at best, with some states failing to regulate the rides at all. Lack of oversight could leave some park-goers vulnerable to potential accidents and serious injuries.

Reporting of accidental injury is left up to the individual parks, which cumulatively report more than 1,000 injuries each year. When a severe injury or death occurs, the incident makes local headlines, but the attention is often fleeting. Personal injury lawsuits filed against amusement park operators typically resolve in confidential settlements, leaving the public in the dark about the details of many of these incidents.

Amusement parks feature faster, more dangerous rides

Around 335 million people visit the more than 400 amusement parks across the country each year. To attract a larger percentage of those visitors, parks are regularly striving to create new rides that faster, taller and involve higher g-force than ever before.

For example, in 1997, the fastest ride in the U.S. was the Superman: Escape from Krypton ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The ride got up to 100 miles per hour in some parts. In 2013, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates made it up to 149 miles per hour. The Superman ride at Six Flags was also the tallest ride in 1997 at 415 feet. In 2010, the Kingda Ka ride at Six Flags Great Adventure reached 456 feet.

Roller coaster deaths reported

Even with the many changes within the amusement park industry, regulation of the new rides is sparse. The Consumer Product Safety Commission lost its ability to oversee park rides in 2001, when Congress passed what has become known as the “roller coaster loophole.” Despite the new law, the commission reported 51 deaths from amusement park rides between 1987 and 2000, which equated to approximately four deaths each year.

When most people think of amusement park fatalities, the roller coaster probably tops the list as what is considered the most dangerous ride. According to the Huffington Post, roller coasters made up more than 27 percent of all ride-related fatalities, the most of any other type of ride. However, Ferris wheels and gondolas also caused a measurable number of fatal accidents – more than 20 percent. Water rides were also responsible for a significant number of fatalities, with more than 15 percent of all deaths involving these rides.

For those who are injured or lose loved ones to amusement park rides, the results can be catastrophic. Major medical expenses and lost wages can take a serious financial toll while physical injuries can turn your world upside down. Enlisting a qualified personal injury lawyer is essential to ensuring your rights are fully protected in the wake of an amusement park ride accident.

Legal representation you can count on

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye represent victims in all types of personal injury claims throughout New York, including those caused by amusement park rides. Our veteran attorneys have procured millions in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients over the years — put our skill and resources to work for you!

To arrange a free assessment of your case, contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye at 1-800-469-7429.

  1. New York Daily News, The Safety of Summer Thrills: Amusement Park Risks Nearly Impossible to Know Because of Terrifying Patchwork of State Laws or Almost No Regulation,
  2. Amusement Safety Organization, Injury Totals for 2015,
  3. Health Research Funding, 8 Incredible Roller Coaster Death Statistics,
  4. Huffington Post, The Deadliest Amusement Park Rides,