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When did the practice of restraint checks by employees start


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^B&M restraints systems are designed to put your body around and between stuff (restraints and seats) so you can't fall out. I promise you will be ok on Tatsu!

 

If the restraints were not down far enough, the system would not let the train dispatch; the B&M brain knows all! I do understand the B&M flying coasters can be a little intimidating while hanging in that position, but that kinda adds to the fun!

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The other main problem I've also seen is employees not even checking them on rides that it's nessecary due to design. Such as on that Tatsu dispatch, he just put 2 fingers on the OSTR and didn't push or pull

Please stop pretending that you know more than the ride ops. You don't. Again, you're fine. If you are too scared to go on a ride that you need constant ride op attention checking your restraint when it's not needed or required, then you shouldn't be riding that roller coaster. Or maybe grow some balls. Either one of the two options here would be your solution.

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The other main problem I've also seen is employees not even checking them on rides that it's nessecary due to design. Such as on that Tatsu dispatch, he just put 2 fingers on the OSTR and didn't push or pull

Please stop pretending that you know more than the ride ops. You don't. Again, you're fine. If you are too scared to go on a ride that you need constant ride op attention checking your restraint when it's not needed or required, then you shouldn't be riding that roller coaster. Or maybe grow some balls. Either one of the two options here would be your solution.

 

Yeah, the more that I thought about that, the dumber it sounds. If it wasn't safe to have a 5' 1" person ride, they woulda raised the height requirement. Like even with one click, it may be loose, but I wouldn't have been able to ride if it wasn't completely safe. And I actually am looking forward to Tatsu ERT, if offered, at West Coast Bash. Sorry for being such a whiney person Robb

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It might be due to guest peace of mind, if other guests see the employees checking restraints they will feel safer and feel like the employees are doing their job. The USA is liability heaven and people want redundant restraints. Parents want to see that their kids and teens are buckled in and the restraints are checked by an employee only makes them feel safer. If a parent doesn't feel the place is safe they will not let their kids come back and they will tell every other parent its not safe so they won't take their kids and so on... thus it becomes industry standard to have employees check the restraints because if park A near the person's house does it than park B better do it too or else park B becomes the unsafe one to the parent. I have never had an issue with a restraint and seatbelts are fine to me, but I have had some people flat out tell me they will not ride certain rides without a seatbelt even if its a ride that clearly does not need a seatbelt (and that is why some rides do not have seatbelts). AKA I am not riding that it does not have a seatbelt. I see nothing wrong with an extra seatbelt even if its not necessary I am certainly not going to argue with it but I am not going to demand that every ride I go on needs a seatbelt because I might get injured if there is none.

 

Its worth noting that I have had a seatbelt pop off me a couple times on coasters because the bar comes into contact with the seatbelt and opens the buckle, there was no way I was going to fall out but if we are talking about insanely low failure rates I am sure a seatbelt can fail as well as other restraint mechanisms too. Seatbelts can also get worn out and possibly fail that way, again very very slim chance of this happening but the chance is there.

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Parks are still free to go above and beyond the manufacturers guidelines. If they want a modification, they'd still need manufacturer approval. But if you're a manufacturer and company tells you "hey, I want seatbelts too"---you're going to do it to keep them happy. Worldwide standards also vary (TUV in Europe, ASTM here).

 

My point here is really that this is easy to nitpick to death. "Park operators must follow the manufacturer's guidelines" is the classic sort of old wives tale that becomes part of historical fact when it isn't. It isn't in ASTM guidelines. There are some states which indicate this in their bylaws (OH), others which don't (NJ), and some which have no regulation whatsoever (AZ, KS).

 

I don't think this an old wives tale. It isn't in ASTM or a law in every state, but it is a best practice followed by the industry. Any SOP I've seen from a manufacturer is already crafted to either TUV or ASTM standards as it is. New Jersey law does say that the annual inspection will audit a rides operations to ensure it is being operated in accordance with the manufacturers SOP.

 

I would be real interested to know of any park that would openly disregard manufacturer guidelines or modify a ride without their input (assuming the company is still in business. Obviously defunct manufacturers would require new engineering approval from a 3rd party). I've been around the industry a long time and know many people throughout, and not once have I ever heard that the manufacturer's word isn't the gospel to follow.

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We are talking about insanely low failure rates I am sure a seatbelt can fail as well as other restraint mechanisms too. Seatbelts can also get worn out and possibly fail that way, again very very slim chance of this happening but the chance is there.

Maybe in China, yes, but I don't think I have *ever* seen a "worn out seatbelt" on any roller coaster at any major or even minor park.

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I've been around the industry a long time and know many people throughout, and not once have I ever heard that the manufacturer's word isn't the gospel to follow.

You were what... 16 years old operating Freefall at Magic Mountain? And now you're in rides management at one of the top ten most visited parks in the country? What do you know???

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I guess I know nothing except old wife tales

 

But Funny you mention the 16 year old ride op thing...

 

I wouldn't be surprised if practice of checking restraints also became standard practice because somewhere along the way someone realized "holy crap, if we don't have structure with how we train these people...something bad is going to happen."

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But Funny you mention the 16 year old ride op thing...

 

I wouldn't be surprised if practice of checking restraints also became standard practice because somewhere along the way someone realized "holy crap, if we don't have structure with how we train these people...something bad is going to happen."

 

Agreed. Making a ride operator physically check each restraint adds more structure than simply walking through visually checking to see a restraint is properly secured. Physical checks slow the operators down making them address every restraint every time, instead of addressing only the incorrectly secured restraints they spotted. I see the benefits of the conservative approach used in places like Cedar Fair parks, and I see the benefits of the Disney approach that limits how frequent a restraint is physically checked by the operator. Parks should do what they believe serves them best in line with manufacturer guidelines and laws in place.

 

For many restraint systems, it takes several things to go wrong for a restraint to fail. Without going much into detail, I am not going to panic if somehow an operator forgot to tap my lap bar, especially when the ride just finished its previous cycle with that restraint functioning properly. The small push or tug is not making the restraint any more secure than it already was when I lowered it.

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I don't mind it on small rides, like disney rides and mine trains, but it is not essential.

Your words don't even make sense.

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I see the benefits of the Disney approach that limits how frequent a restraint is physically checked by the operator.

I watched several trains on Big Thunder get checked today. Two operators are able to check 15 rows of restraints in about 7 to 10 seconds. Granted there is only one lap bar per row, but as they walk down their half of the train doing the "push up" motion to the guests, and then the guests push up on their bar, it all seems to work so well and so efficiently. The only reason one of the trains took 10 seconds was because the ride op has to wait for a couple of seconds for a guest to finish putting their bad in the little holder on the train.

 

Oh I'd also like to point out that we took a tripod, two bags, four cell phones, and 2 bottles of drinks on the ride without any problem at all tonight. On top of having all of our trains lap bars checked in 7 seconds.

IMG_4367.thumb.JPG.321abd89037f20fdd09d6806c5a1e88a.JPG

The things that Disney is able to do with their operations is just mind blowing something. It amazes me that more parks don't learn from this and adapt. But not even the other major parks here in Orlando seem to be able to match what Disney does.

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I seem to recall ride op's not checking the restraints at Europa Park as I remember saying to Michael after boarding Silver Star: "Wow, no restraint checks? Like they actually expect that people are going to be smart enough to move to their seat and pull down a lap bar without requiring assistance on how to do it?"

 

That's when I knew that I absolutely loved Europa and Germany.

 

It was also interesting to note the lack of barriers and such around rides like the Bumper Cars at Prater Park in Vienna. While it was raining and most rides were down, I found that a lot of the rides you could go up and touch - in case you felt like prematurely ending your own life.

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I sometimes wonder where certain rules come from. I remember a time when we could keep glasses on for rides, even launch rides like Montezooma's but now they make you take them off? Why and when did that rule change?

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I do with more parks would learn from Disney. Ironically, one of the worst parks in the US is a resort very close to Disney: Universal Orlando. I do not mind having security checks in the front of the park, but having to go through a metal detector before every single ride on one of their major coasters is ridiculous. While I have heard that Japanese parks have similar loose article policies, at least these parks will let you take your phone with you in line, and wait until the end of the line to empty your pockets, instead of taking your phone right at the beginning of the line.

 

Another good point made in this thread was how uncomfortable people can be with being touched in today's time. I do wonder if this reaches the point that more parks start adopting the Disney method. That could be a great silver lining.

 

Otherwise, it is still insane that I can take an entire backpack with me on a launched, looping coaster at one park, while a park just down the freeway will not allow me to ride a coaster with a penny in my pocket. (I am not exaggerating. On Rip Ride Rockit, I literally had to take one penny out of my pocket to ride).

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Otherwise, it is still insane that I can take an entire backpack with me on a launched, looping coaster at one park, while a park just down the freeway will not allow me to ride a coaster with a penny in my pocket. (I am not exaggerating. On Rip Ride Rockit, I literally had to take one penny out of my pocket to ride).

 

This is what surprises me most. I live near Disneyland but don't travel there much at all (in favor of Knott's and Six Flags), but when I rode California Screamin' for the first time last year, I was blown away that they let you take your backpack with you and leave it at your feet during the entire ride. However, I noticed that they make you take all loose articles with you on Jaguar at Knott's (backpacks, purses, cups, cameras, everything), so I guess it has rubbed off on some other rides. That's the only non-Disney ride I've ridden where they let you do that.

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I do wish more parks would learn from Disney. Ironically, one of the worst parks in the US is a resort very close to Disney: Universal Orlando. I do not mind having security checks in the front of the park, but having to go through a metal detector before every single ride on one of their major coasters is ridiculous. While I have heard that Japanese parks have similar loose article policies, at least these parks will let you take your phone with you in line, and wait until the end of the line to empty your pockets, instead of taking your phone right at the beginning of the line.

THIS! A million times THIS!!!!

 

I absolutely refuse to go on any coaster at Universal Orlando where I have to surrender all my crap including my phone to ride. There are so many better ways of doing this and having to put all my stuff away, then go through a metal detector, and not being able to even use my phone in line and be trusted to put it in a bin off to the side or secure in my cargo pocket is ridiculous and I will not support it.

 

And really, it's not even just not being able to take my stuff, it's the combination of that AND the horrible lockers they have there. I have only been on a coaster at Universal three times since this all happened and EVERY SINGLE TIME I got stuck having to wait in line to get a locker, then wait in line to open my locker. Each time was 3-5 minutes, and while that's not a lot of time, it's just an additional annoyance. And one of the times my locker wouldn't re-open because a bank of lockers has gone done, and we had to wait even longer for an employee to come fix it so I could get my crap.

 

I hate this system. It's the absolute worst and it's completely an insulting way to treat their guests.

 

And oddly enough, one of their sister parks in Japan has a FANTASTIC method of securing everyone's items without holding up dispatches in the station. (see our most recent Japan trip report for it.) IMO it's even more embarrassing for the park that they resort to such a terrible guest experience when one of their other parks are doing a great job with it. Why can't they just adopt the system that works instead of having a system that is full of annoyance?

 

This is quite possibly one of my biggest theme park pet peeves.

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it is still insane that I can take an entire backpack with me on a launched, looping coaster at one park, while a park just down the freeway will not allow me to ride a coaster with a penny in my pocket. (I am not exaggerating. On Rip Ride Rockit, I literally had to take one penny out of my pocket to ride).

This is one of my favorite photos from Mickey's Not-So-Scary last year.

 

Cv6A8OVWcAA695J.thumb.jpg.12544df84b4756b1f88975b2e3eea207.jpg

 

We joked that we were riding Space Mountain holding (count 'em) TEN bags of candy, along with a sword, a shield, all of our phones and other stuff, and down the street at Universal if I had just ONE PIECE OF CANDY in my pocket I would be shouted at and told to go put it in a locker, because HOW DARE I RIDE THEIR ROLLER COASTERS with a small piece of candy in my pocket.

 

The rule is just so ridiculous and insulting it's not even funny.

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  • 2 months later...

I thought I'd give a bump to an old thread I started. I wanted to share a couple things that I noticed during a recent visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

-When riding Superman: Escape from Krypton, I was the only person in the car (the park was DEAD), so as I got off I helped the ride staff in undoing the seatbelts and raising the OSTRs for my row, which I realized took an additional 5 seconds or so for each. Now that added time wasn't a problem on a practically abandoned day at the park, but would add a lot of time to dispatches when they had to wait for the station to clear out so the ops could go in and undo the seatbelt and raise the OSTR. Is there any reason why they'd have to attach the seatbelts when nobody is sitting in that seat?

 

-On Goliath, a lady was loudly complaining that the op didn't put enough effort into her restraint check. I have to give a big thank you to Robb and that other ride op for showing me how obnoxious that is, as I could clearly see her restraint was lowered almost to the lowest point, and her seatbelt had a good length of slack. What is the policy for dealing with someone like that?

 

Any help with those questions would be fantastic!! Thanks!!

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I thought I'd give a bump to an old thread I started. I wanted to share a couple things that I noticed during a recent visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

-When riding Superman: Escape from Krypton, I was the only person in the car (the park was DEAD), so as I got off I helped the ride staff in undoing the seatbelts and raising the OSTRs for my row, which I realized took an additional 5 seconds or so for each. Now that added time wasn't a problem on a practically abandoned day at the park, but would add a lot of time to dispatches when they had to wait for the station to clear out so the ops could go in and undo the seatbelt and raise the OSTR. Is there any reason why they'd have to attach the seatbelts when nobody is sitting in that seat?

 

-On Goliath, a lady was loudly complaining that the op didn't put enough effort into her restraint check. I have to give a big thank you to Robb and that other ride op for showing me how obnoxious that is, as I could clearly see her restraint was lowered almost to the lowest point, and her seatbelt had a good length of slack. What is the policy for dealing with someone like that?

 

Any help with those questions would be fantastic!! Thanks!!

 

I have worked at a park for a number of years (not Six Flags, so I don't know their procedures). The reason for fastening seatbelts on empty seats is so that they don't flop around and damage/wear the seat and train body. At least that was my instructor back then told me.

 

As for the restraint checking thing, I am a firm believer that operators/attendants should pull on every restraint to check the locking mechanism. I've had it happen to me that the locking mechanism of one restraint wouldn't engage. Had I checked only visually it would've ended badly. As for the lady you mentioned, while obnoxious maybe, I'd guess she is just concerned about her safety. Request like that happen from time to time, especially from parents asking me to double or triple-check their kid's restraint. If it makes the guest feel safe, I'm happy to pull on the restraint with all the strength I have. Luckily I was part of a pretty efficient crew so it didn't lose us too much time if it occured.

 

Hope this answers your questions.

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To my best memory, physical restraint checks by employees started after the Great Adventure Lightnin' Loops (completely preventable) accident in 1987.

 

To piggyback on that (and related to slow loading), sometime after that airgates started going in on Six Flags rides. Cedar Point didn't even have air gates when I worked there in the 90s.

 

Most of it was common sense:

0 - Stand behind the line because the coaster train will crush you.

1 - Hurry up and get in because your ride is here and there are people waiting behind you.

2 - Pull down your lap or shoulder bar.

3 - Hold on to your stuff. If you loose it, too bad.

 

The reasons why everything has devolved, and people have to be babysat... probably another topic. I'd rather not go there myself. Too frustrating.

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