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4 Most Dangerous Types of Amusement Park Rides

Each year, approximately 375 million people across North America visit amusement parks in search of thrills, relaxation, and fun with family and friends. From water slides to roller coasters, amusement park rides are intended to provide an exciting yet safe experience—but unfortunately, these attractions sometimes result in injury or even death to their riders.

According to a survey by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), there were 1,035 ride-related injuries among 171 amusement parks in the U.S. and Canada in 2017. An estimated 10% of these were considered serious, meaning that the injury either resulted in death or required immediate hospitalization for more than 24 hours, while the remaining 90% required medical care beyond ordinary first aid. This survey only focused on fixed-site amusement rides and did not include mobile rides (such as those found at traveling carnivals or fairs), which may be even more likely to cause injury. In light of these alarming statistics, amusement park visitors may be wondering which rides are most dangerous. Here are some of the top four:

  1. Roller coasters. As both steel and wooden coasters are constantly being designed to travel at higher speeds along more thrilling tracks, they may carry significant risks to riders. For example, some riders have experienced head, neck, and back injuries (including traumatic brain injuries) from G-forces or from hitting their head against stationary or detached objects; other types of serious injuries or death after falling from the roller coaster; brain aneurysms; and broken bones, lacerations and more.
  2. Water slides. Combining the twists and turns of roller coasters with the added risks of water, water slides can present a hazardous experience. Injuries may occur when the slide malfunctions, tubes flip over or collide with other vessels, or riders fall from the slide. Common types of injuries include those to the head and neck, drowning, and lacerations—which carry a heightened risk of infection if the water is not properly sanitized.
  3. Boat rides and log flumes. While these types of attractions may seem relatively tame compared to others found at amusement parks, they can be surprisingly dangerous. Often, boat rides and log flumes do not have any restraints to secure riders, leading to an increased risk that a rider will fall into the water—possibly from a great height.
  4. Bumper cars. By design, bumper cars knock into each other and surrounding objects, which may cause riders to suffer soft tissue or skeletal injuries. However, if the ride malfunctions, serious risks including electrocution could occur.

With a plethora of amusement and theme parks in Florida, it is common for visitors to sustain ride-related injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by an amusement ride, there may be legal options available to help compensate for the damages you have suffered. For instance, you might be able to bring a negligence claim against the park or a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the ride. The key is to consult a personal injury attorney with experience handling these particular types of cases.

At Leighton Law, we are experts in “resort torts,” including injuries that occur at amusement and theme parks. To learn more, visit https://leightonlaw.com/resort-torts/ or call us at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation!

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