As the days get longer, and the nights stay warmer, Michiganders of all ages will flock to local amusement parks for summer fun. In fact, there are 900 licensed amusement rides alone in Michigan, including water slides, go-karts, carnival rides, and roller coasters. The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) encourages riders to follow safety rules. Riders can also follow these tips for riding safety:
· Choose appropriate rides for the rider’s abilities, sensitivities, and health.
· Follow the rules of the rides including obeying height, age and weight restrictions and instructions.
· Secure loose clothing and objects.
· Stay seated, face front and hold on to the handrails until the ride comes to a complete stop.
· Report accidents or other incidents to the ride operator or contact the Amusement Safety Unit at (517) 241-9273.
While Michigan’s number of amusement ride accidents pales in comparison to the nationwide figure, 30 accidents are reported to DELEG annually. However, even one accident is still too many. DELEG found in their recent study of 500 injuries reported over the last 12 years that 80% were caused by rider negligence, while the other 20% were caused by ride operator inattentiveness, the failure of equipment, or some combination of both.
DELEG emphasizes the importance of being aware of the condition of the ride equipment and the attentiveness of the ride operator. However, data from the Safer Parks Organization indicated that children under the age of 13 are those who primarily suffer amusement ride accidents, and children between 7-12 account for one-third of all ride accidents. It is especially important for parents to keep a close eye on their children so that the ride stays fun and doesn’t end in a needless tragedy.