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Should coaster entrances have weight scales?


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First of all I can see how this can come across as mean and that is NOT my intention at all. In the last 10 months 2 people have died on roller coasters both due to being over weight (report for todays accident claims the rider was overweight) and falling off the coaster train. I remember someone else falling off Perilous Plunge about 12 years ago and another person on the same type of ride both due to being overweight. I don't recall but I'm sure there have unfortunately been more instances in the last 12 years. In any regard two instances in a year is a bit high. Do you think its time parks have a scale that people have to stand on to be cleared to ride along with a test seat? I'm not saying make everyone who are obviously under the max weight limit, but people who may be close to it have them stand on a scale along with a test seat. I would think heavier riders would rather do this than wait 2 hours just to do the walk of shame or risk their lives even if they fit.

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The problem I see with this idea is that accidents like those of NTAG and the Superman hyper coasters aren't exactly caused by their weight, but more by their body shape and size. There could be an individual who weighed 300 pounds, but carried a lot of their weight in their butt and thighs, and fit in a coaster fine, as opposed to someone of the same weight with all of it in their gut, no allowing them to fit. If there was a scale before entering a ride, it would basically eliminate all people greater than or equal to that maximum size, even if their body shape allows them to properly fit in a restraint.

 

Think of the Ride of Steel accident at Darien Lake a few years back. The rider was normal weight, but he didn't have complete and functional limbs, resulting in him being ejected.

 

Now if it is simply a weight issue like Flying Turns at Knoebels or some sort of boat/water ride, then a scale is completely understandable (which Knoebels has for FT).

 

Just my thoughts on the idea.

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Well the person who died on NTAG died because the restraint did not rest on their legs and therefore they weren't properly secured. The one report from a Spanish paper saying the boy was overweight could be completely false, just like we've already heard he is Icelandic and/or British.

 

Are you going to pull out a measuring tape to make sure their body dimensions are the correct size? Because that has more to do with it than a persons weight. It's also going to be fairly different depending on the model and the person. Should we all get measured when we walk in, so we can find out which rides we're allowed on because sometimes it's not as easy as you would imagine to know who would and wouldn't fit on a ride.

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^Fair enough points. What they could do though if if you weigh between X-Y you sit in the test seat that lights up green to clear you or red if it wouldn't (the test seat should factor in different body shapes ETC). If you're above weight Y (determined by the coaster manufacture and park) regardless if you'd clear the test seat you can't ride.

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As far as we know the scales are redundant because none of these accidents have been proved to have anything to do with weight. The ones mentioned are done for the weight of the entire car/boat so that the ride doesn't stop. People would be transferred to make the weight correct. Maybe only 1 person can ride because when there's two people in the car it's over the weight limit. That seems to be different to what you are proposing.

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Don't know what a scale would do. I weigh 260 lbs but I'm also 6'5" and pretty well proportioned framewise. I can fit on the dozens of coasters I've been on in the past year. Some are a bit tight but that probably has more to do with my height and length of my legs than weight. Honestly, riders and park employees just have to display common sense. Use test seats before you ride and don't throw a hissy fit if you are beyond the restraint restrictions. The walk of shame sucks but individuals should use it as motivation to lose weight. Hell, I use the tight seatbelts I've experienced on a few rides as motivation.

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if it hasn't been mentioned. . . "Flying Turns" at Knoebel's has a scale at the entrance, and at each gate in the station before you load into the cars.

 

if your weight is too heavy, the person on the load platform, re-arranges the 6 people until the weight is distributed correctly, and he get's a "go" from the computer.

 

it doesn't give a weight, but says "launch delayed" if you're too heavy and he has to move you.

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Maybe you should have to be able to walk through a cutout, like on the cave tour at Silver Dollar City...

 

(I'm not serious)

 

But no, I don't think fat people should have to stand on cattle yard scales before riding a roller coaster. Let common sense and ride operator training prevail. Walk of shame - Lose weight.

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On a related note, there should be a law that says any roller coaster built in the US must have the restraint systems designed in the US. Apparently in Europe where most of the best ones are designed, everyone must have a 30-inch waist and only weight 110 pounds.

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^Why? People in the US should just be in better shape. We're an incredibly unhealthy society. Being severely overweight, you should realize that things aren't going to be designed around you since you aren't the size of a normal human being.

 

And yes, I do think we should have scales at the entrances. Severely overweight people slow the loading process and cause ride operators to have to make a judgement call which, as we've seen several times, can lead to accidents. If you're not in the range a restraint is designed for because you're unhealthy, that's nobody's problem but your own.

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And yes, I do think we should have scales at the entrances. Severely overweight people slow the loading process and cause ride operators to have to make a judgement call which, as we've seen several times, can lead to accidents.

 

Isn't that the point of a test seat? Also, at what point are parks letting ride ops make a judgement call on safety? Most modern coaster restraints have sensors which indicate whether they are locked or not. If the restraint isn't locked the guest doesn't ride, seems straightforward to me.

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If it was fully straightforward we wouldn't have had accidents like on NTAG last year (that was last year right?), the one the other day at Terra Matica, etc.

 

The vast majority of restraints don't have those sensors on them. Every single one of those requires ride operators to make a judgement call.

 

Test seats are good in theory except people who should use them still walk merrily by and wind up in the station and cause issues and then have to do the walk of shame regardless. It would be better if it wasn't so exposed in front of an entire station of people.

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If it was fully straightforward we wouldn't have had accidents like on NTAG last year (that was last year right?), the one the other day at Terra Matica, etc.

 

The vast majority of restraints don't have those sensors on them. Every single one of those requires ride operators to make a judgement call.

 

Test seats are good in theory except people who should use them still walk merrily by and wind up in the station and cause issues and then have to do the walk of shame regardless. It would be better if it wasn't so exposed in front of an entire station of people.

 

I don't support scales. I fit on most Intamins despite being at the alleged "weight limit" of 230lb. Weight is not the determining factor, it's shape.

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As one who is one funnel cake away from having to take the walk of shame I understand the problem but scales will not solve the problem. Now if the scales had trap doors and dumped you out in the parking lot, maybe.

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Weight unfortunately isn't a determining factor, even BMI charts can be very errant in determining if someone has a healthy body mass. Everyone has different levels of muscle mass, bone density, leg to torso ratio etc;

 

Parks just really need install more tests seats at entrances and guests shouldn't be offended or upset if they wait 2 hours and can't ride when they knew good and well there was a test seat available and based on their dimensions their ridership would be questionable to begin with.

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Also do not think weight scales are the solution. I myself weigh about 105 kilos but am also 1,96 meters tall. I fit into all ride seats so far - but a person at the same weight with only 1,60 meters tall would likely not fit.

 

I like Heide-Parks solution for Colossos: They have a seat belt at the ride entrance that has the same "range" as those on the seats - and if you cannot close that seatbelt you cannot close it on the coaster and cannot ride. Far better solution than any height or weight restrictions.

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And yes, I do think we should have scales at the entrances. Severely overweight people slow the loading process and cause ride operators to have to make a judgement call which, as we've seen several times, can lead to accidents.

 

Isn't that the point of a test seat? Also, at what point are parks letting ride ops make a judgement call on safety? Most modern coaster restraints have sensors which indicate whether they are locked or not. If the restraint isn't locked the guest doesn't ride, seems straightforward to me.

 

As a ride operator, I don't care what the sensor says on the seat. If the harness strap can't buckle, or the harness or lap bar won't click, or hasn't clicked two full times (for example) then I'm not going to let the person ride. Yeah, it sucks. It is one of my least favorite things to do. But it's incredibly straight forward. If all restraints aren't used entirely as designed, then the person can not ride. As you say, it's very straightforward.

 

This comes mostly from working at SpinCycle, since the harness would click and the sensor would say the harness is locked while stationary. As soon as the person put enough pressure on the sensor it would think the harness was open, even though it wasn't, and e-stop the ride. I could easily turn away 50 people (out of ~70 cycles) a day. We had to trust what we heard, not what the ride thought.

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^Totally agree on that. Even old Schwarzkopf loopers like Nessie have amber-green lights to indicate lock status of the lapbar - and all seats must show green before the operator can even dispatch the ride. Some manufacturers allow ride dispatch with not all restraints closed on empty seats - always find that disturbing. HUSS and Gerstlauer also have bulbs/LEDs on their seats to indicate restraint status.

 

Some other manufacturers have these indicators only inside the operators booth which I find is quite a slow down in operations. Helix runs such a system and once I was there an overweight person was refused only after time consuming negotiations between ride ops and ride attendant - with an LED on the seat they would have a way quicker dispatch.

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I don't support scales. I fit on most Intamins despite being at the alleged "weight limit" of 230lb. Weight is not the determining factor, it's shape.

 

There is an alleged weight limit of 230lb on Intamins? I haven't been on a scale for a long time but I reckon I'm in that neighborhood. However I'm 6' 3" and nobody would call me fat.

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