Seatbelt not secured around 6-year-old who died falling from adventure park ride

Ride safety and inspection requirements vary quite a bit from state to state, unfortunately. Some states do a pretty good job. Some don’t regulate rides at all.

In Colorado the job falls to the state’s “Division of Oil and Public Safety.” I don’t know their track record but the division’s name may give some indication of what their higher priority is.

In many states the job falls under the department of agriculture, I guess because of the historic connection to county fairs.

I’ll add that, while it’s absolutely appropriate to have strong state oversight to help keep the amusement parks safe, there’s only so much that the state can do to prevent accidents as they obviously aren’t going to be on site every day. When a park is found to have violated some regulation they can get fined thousands of dollars, but when they’ve been found liable for injuring or killing a guest they (or their insurance company) can lose millions in court, not to mention the reputational hit.

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Yes but what are a few lives compared to the momentary annoyance a driver might feel upon seeing a flashing light or the delay a tourist might experience boarding a ride that won’t launch while warning indicators are active?


Are you sure?
Another common factor in most industrial accidents is a widespread belief in the organization that they have a good safety culture. I mean, you might be right, as some industries have learnt how to do this more effectively. But to me, you sound perhaps a little over-confident.

The operators and/or their supervisors always get blamed. And occasionally that is appropriate. But it’s much more likely that bad design and/or maintenance of the equipment is a significant factor, coupled with commercial pressures (Owners: “shutdowns cost money!!”)


Stop signs prevent people from advancing when they shouldn’t by alerting them to danger. Sounds like a pretty good preventative to me. Also, manslaughter.


Yep. I don’t have any special knowledge about the details of this ride, but as someone with experience in the industry it’s absolutely the case that, if a case of human error was the proximate cause of an accident, that’s definitely not where the investigation ends. Many cases of simple human error are foreseeable, and a ride that requires operators to do their job perfectly every time in order to prevent injury or death is a very poorly designed ride.

Fun fact: the majority of rollercoasters will not eject passengers from the vehicle in the event that the lap bar or restraint pops open, unless there’s also a secondary failure like the coaster getting stuck on the wrong part of the track. There are exceptions and the restraints for some coasters really are the only thing keeping the riders from certain death, but those usually have redundant mechanical systems as well as sensors and a “second set of eyes” requirement for another operator to confirm that everything is good.


I can verify that. I was on a roller coaster at a big park, where we discovered the over-the-shoulder lock-bar was not at all locked… We could raise it all the way up at any point, which we discovered on the way up the first hill. I can attest it is truly frightening on the top of a loop to know you are not secured in the ride. But vastly more frightening on one of those “humps” designed to throw you upwards against the bars, while you are trying to use your feet to hook something, and grasping onto the bars for dear life hoping they don’t flip up too high. Luckily, physics favored us on that ride, as it was primarily a looping coaster.


Well, practically speaking, yes.

And, yes, supervisors and/or operators will rightly get blamed for the ignoring of alarms, unless there was no supervision or poor training system in place, and then in that case, management would take responsibility. Shutdowns result from ignoring alarms, and we know they will cost a lot of money and/or harm to human health. The operator and/or supervisor will face the consequence of either demotions or the loss of their jobs for a significant act of non-compliance. So, those on duty are much less likely to ignore alarms. Naturally, we want to see them perform their jobs well and keep them.

In this unfortunate and disturbing case of Glenwood Caverns, I am not sure, because I have never visited this park, let alone worked there, but it is very likely the shutdown would not have cost a lot of money, because the riders, as in parks similar to Glenwood Caverns, already paid for their tickets before getting in line. If you have ever visited Disneyland or another well run fun park, the rides are well-maintained and operated. I have personally had my bar or seatbelt adjusted at different rides before all of the other 30 passengers and I could commence with the fun. In this case of the mine ride, the alarm went off, and it was manually overridden by the amusement park employee. Why? Without specific inside information, I speculate it was due to poor training or a lack of supervision, and majorly disappointing negligence.

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