Millions of people flock excitedly to theme parks every year to revel in the adrenaline rush that is provided by riding roller coasters and an array of other exhilarating rides. As we queue for the our chosen ride we try to remain calm as it goes hurtling by and the echo of the riders screams ring in your ears. As the queue moves closer to the front, nearer to you taking your turn your heart rate increases and the nerves kick in.
So why is it then that we do this to ourselves?
It is the thrill seekers that are attracted in their droves to roller coasters, rather than those personalities that prefer the quiet life. They are certainly not for everyone.
Theme parks and roller coaster are a way of breaking out of life’s “normal” routine. There is just something exhilarating about being able to scream at the top of your lungs and it being ok. The experience of a roller coaster also has a strange way of bringing people together, sharing in the thrills of surviving the extreme experience.
Just how safe is riding a rollercoaster?
With the Smiler roller coaster crash at Alton Towers still fresh in the mind of the British public, it can only make you wonder how safe roller coasters really are. Very, is the answer!
What are the odds of a roller coaster crashing? The International Association of Amusement Park (IAAAPA) suggests that the odds of sustaining an injury at a theme park is one in 9 million and the chances of being injured actually on a ride are one in 24 million. In fact, you are more likely to be injured travelling to a theme park than whilst you are there.
What happens when things go wrong?
Our UK theme parks are enviably the safest in the world. Our safety is certainly not taken lightly however, accidents still do happen.
In the case of the Smiler, where two of the cars collided at 20 mph, the theme park immediately closed down. This was to enable investigations into the cause of the crash to take place and to give the staff time to come to terms with the accident and its posts events.
Any accident automatically triggers a review of safety procedures regardless of the industry. This was no different for the Merlin Group that owns Alton Towers. Of course, the safety procedure will also be scrutinised as part of the litigation cases and personal injury claims against the company.
What of the Victims?
As well as some of the safest theme parks in the World we also have a justice system that allows everyone access to the law. Litigation funding will be available to the victims of the accident. This means that the cases can be brought to court without the victims having to fund them, to take such a large company to court could be very costly. Although, in the case of Alton Towers they have admitted full liability, the case for them will be a costly one, but not necessarily a lengthy one.
Although covered by law for accidents on rides and in theme parks, the winning of a case will certainly not bring back people from fatalities or make up for life changing injuries. So, weigh up the risks that you take every day in life.
Will accidents like the Alton Towers Smiler crash stop me going to a theme park or riding a roller coaster?
No! I am one of life’s risk takers and thrill seekers, although one day I hope to prefer the quieter qualities of life.
How about you? Let me know in the comments.