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^ Not entirely true, depending on the ride a visual scan is always a nice double check to make sure no one has made it into the ride area before dispatching a train. 99.9% of the time of course there's nothing out of the ordinary obviously, but everyone once in a blue moon you'll find a random person having had jumped a fence to try and get a loose article.

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I think the issue is not asking the operators to do a visual scan of the area. The issue is asking the operators to be dramatic and obnoxious when doing it to appear really safe. At SFDK, the person on controls at V2 just whipped her head from side to side multiple times, at a speed that probably caused some whiplash and didn't give her time to actually see anything. Also, at magic mountain, the statement "Visual Scan" is being just thrown in the spiel, often without the operators even really looking at all.

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I think the issue is not asking the operators to do a visual scan of the area. The issue is asking the operators to be dramatic and obnoxious when doing it to appear really safe. At SFDK, the person on controls at V2 just whipped her head from side to side multiple times, at a speed that probably caused some whiplash and didn't give her time to actually see anything. Also, at magic mountain, the statement "Visual Scan" is being just thrown in the spiel, often without the operators even really looking at all.

 

I'm not going to lie...the visual scan at SFDK looks downright ridiculous and hilarious. I'm waiting for SFDK to throw in the audible "Visual Scan" with their insanely noticeable salute and panning back and forth...

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Thing is, in my experience its not only the parks that come up with these useless procedures, often not at all. In my experience its some fool at the insurance company who lays down the law that xyz must not be followed else they will not ensure the attraction/park and the park has no choice but to abide.

It's crazy.

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Thing is, in my experience its not only the parks that come up with these useless procedures, often not at all. In my experience its some fool at the insurance company who lays down the law that xyz must not be followed else they will not ensure the attraction/park and the park has no choice but to abide.

It's crazy.

 

In my opinion, it's corporate folks who have no idea how a ride works, trying to provide changes that sound good on paper. In reality, they work horribly and are not efficient. The ones who make the policy changes normally know a lot about the ride as far as standard operating procedures (SOP) goes, but don't fully understand how a ride realistically operates during normal operations. I don't think it's always a result of insurance company relations, I just think it's more of a knee-jerk reaction among the higher ups in the amusement companies.

 

I'm just speaking from my own observations/experiences from working at multiple rides and companies.

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Thing is, in my experience its not only the parks that come up with these useless procedures, often not at all. In my experience its some fool at the insurance company who lays down the law that xyz must not be followed else they will not ensure the attraction/park and the park has no choice but to abide.

It's crazy.

 

In my opinion, it's corporate folks who have no idea how a ride works, trying to provide changes that sound good on paper. In reality, they work horribly and are not efficient. The ones who make the policy changes normally know a lot about the ride as far as standard operating procedures (SOP) goes, but don't fully understand how a ride realistically operates during normal operations. I don't think it's always a result of insurance company relations, I just think it's more of a knee-jerk reaction among the higher ups in the amusement companies.

 

I'm just speaking from my own observations/experiences from working at multiple rides and companies.

 

Can you provide a real example? I'd like to better understand your point of view.

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I wasn't sure where to post about this but I wanted a place to comment on the recent Six Flags decision to add seat belts to perfectly safe coasters. Some of these coasters getting seat belts have been open for years. So far here are the coasters that I know of that recently added seat belts.

 

SFMM :

Goliath (2000)

Yolocoaster (2013)

 

SFDK:

Superman Ultimate Flight (2012)

 

SFOT:

Titan (2001)

 

Here are my three reasons I really dislike this move from Six Flags.

 

1. Six Flags is kind of saying "Hey, the rides you been on numerous times. There all unsafe now"

2. Six Flags is known for terrible operations. Now you just added even more time between each train dispatch.

3. If your trying to make park guests forget about the Texas Giant accident, why add seat belts 4 months later. (example below)

 

Guest 1: When did Titan get seat belts?

Guest 2: Oh when it had that accident.

Guest 1: I thought that was Texas Giant

Guest 2: Oh yeah it was.

 

To end my small rant on the seat belt issue. I understand that seat belts do not necessary change the experience of the ride but it does not help your ride experience. Trust me from a corporate stance, I understand what they are doing but how far do you take it. I mean Titan/Goliath have been safe for 10+ years. I just really wish Six Flags had not gone this direction.

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^I agree with a lot of that.

 

I get the feeling that too many of these changes are being made in order to have the rides appear more safe, rather than to solve actual problems.

 

If after investigating, they came to the conclusion that the same mistakes that led to the Texas Giant accident could actually be made on these other rides, and seat belts would prevent that, I guess that's what they have to do. However I have my doubts. It really just feels like an attempt to look like they're doing the right thing.

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What somewhat boggles my mind is how coasters from different manufacturers are receiving the safety belts as well. Sure, it makes sense for NTAG and IRat to receive them, but placing them on trains are by different manufacturers is just plain overkill, unless in the fairly unlikely event that an actual study showed that seatbelts would keep a person safe on a coaster with these different restraint systems.

 

It seems that, while Cedar Fair parks are improving, SF parks are turning into mid 2000's Cedar Fair parks, with extra safety devices being added to many coasters, as well as declines in park upkeep and operations. (SFMM and SFOT most come to mind)

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What somewhat boggles my mind is how coasters from different manufacturers are receiving the safety belts as well.

 

This strikes me as odd too - there's an accident on an RMC ride using Gerstlauer trains, so Six Flags are now putting seatbelts on Premier coasters?!

 

I assume it comes down to enforcing a certain maximum stomach/waist size - belts generally being more restrictive than the restraints. Given that the New Texas Giant accident seems to have been the result of a restraint not locking properly due to a rider's size I can *kind* of see how they've come to that decision, but it's definitely weird.

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I honestly don't have a problem with this, not because it makes any sense but because it's better than the alternatives. I know everyone is going to jump on my and say that the "alternative" is to leave rides that are nothing like the ride that actually had the incident alone and while you're right... we all know the parks won't do that. They need to appear proactive because this is probably the worst incident to happen in a major US theme park in years (barely, Cedar Point got very lucky). It was completely the fault of the ride... I don't think there's a case for operator error (the seat had sensors and it showed clear), there's no case for rider error... obviously I'm not involved in the lawsuits but from a public opinion standpoint, it's hard to deny that this is the fault of the ride.

 

Because of all this, I'm not surprised that the park is being overly cautious. With alternatives like overly restrictive restraints (Bizarro at SFNE), drastically different size restrictions or more trims, at least they went with the option that doesn't have any effect on ride experience. It's too bad about the increased dispatch times but this could be a lot worse.

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I get the feeling that too many of these changes are being made in order to have the rides appear more safe, rather than to solve actual problems.

This was a good point, but I would like to take it another step further. Can a ride become more dangerous by adding these safety features? Could we have a situation were ride ops become overloaded and overlook some details because of the array of other safety measures they need to keep track of? It's a situation of over correcting the problem, and therefore creating new problems.

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Well, what I think is that the park could trust in the ride manufacturers and add extra safety device if the ride manufacturer say so. Too much changing on a ride would also cause problem unless the changing are operated by the manufacturer, which, is less likely to cause issues. Plus, connecting too completely irrelevant cases is seriously pointless and it only make the GP think that roller coasters are dangerous thus they would stay away from the park.

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All of these coasters that are having seat belts added all have 1 thing in common. They are all owned and operated by SF.

So manufacturer is irrelevant.

 

Some states (CA for example) require that all modifications to a coaster (modifying/adding restrains, reprogramming etc...) be approved by the manufacturer. In SFMM's case, Goliath was manufactured by Giovanola who is now out of business so by default, SFMM is now the "manufacturer" so they can do as they please.

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I'm hoping that the B&M hypers at the SF parks don't get seatbelts. On my final trip to Great Adventure this year, I couldn't believe how fast they were dispatching the trains at Nitro and I timed it to see how long it was taking. It was averaging 70 - 80 seconds. The line almost never stopped moving and even with the line to the entrance (with no switchbacks used) it took 25 minutes. With seatbelts, it would probably take twice as long to dispatch the trains.

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^Proof that B&M's were designed to be capacity machines.

 

Right after the incident and before it was announced that the restraint did not malfunction, we at Cedar Point had to come in earlier every day in order to buckle/rebuckle/buckle every seat belt, then close/release/close every lap bar to check for any type of malfunctions. It is literally the exact thing that maintenance does every single night, so it was just total redundancy, especially since checking a seat with a guest includes pulling the seat belt and the lap bar to check for malfunction anyway. Can't be too careful.

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