The school year will soon be over. Kids and teens will flock to the beaches and amusement parks in the New York City area as summer settles in. Where are these amusement parks, and how safe are they? Do parents need to worry?
Of course, parents worry about everything, but amusement parks pose a special challenge. Many rides at theme parks, water parks and old fashioned thrill parks are based on the feeling of danger. Rides at amusement parks take safety to the edge. When a roller coaster drops three stories or swings fly out into the air, riders feel as if they have lost control and will fall. And that’s the point.
Most amusement park rides are generally safe, especially when they are properly maintained. However, they are also trying to outdo each other, increasing the terror level with free falls and speeds of up to 50 mph.
Amusement parks in the NYC area have seen their share of accidents and even fatalities. Action Park in New Jersey has had so many problems that it has closed several times, only to reopen under a new name. Just recently, the famed Cyclone roller coaster at Luna Park on Coney Island stalled on the first day of operation in March.
There is no federal oversight of fixed-in-place (as opposed to travelling shows) amusement parks, water parks, theme parks and thrill rides. Since 1981, each state has been responsible for setting its own rules for park operation and safety. In New York City, the Department of Buildings (DOB) is responsible for licensing and overseeing amusement park rides.
The year 2005 was especially bad for New York State and City amusement parks. Two people died at Adventureland on Long Island. A child died at Playland in Rye and a worker at the state fair in Syracuse died while setting up and testing a travelling ride.
- Action Park (formerly Mountain Creek), Vernon, NJ
- Playland, Rye, NY
- Adventurers’ Amusement Park, Brooklyn
- Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Brooklyn
- Kids’nAction, Brooklyn
- Luna Park, Brooklyn (home of the famed Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster)
- Victorian Gardens in Central Park
- Adventureland, Farmingdale, NY
The best way to stay safe on amusement rides is to follow the rules – don’t stand up, be sure the safety bar is secure, and read and obey the warning signs posted for especially exciting rides. If you do this, the worst injury you will probably sustain is a sunburn or a stomach ache!
This information about amusement parks is brought to you by the personal injury lawyers at the New York City law firm of Block O’Toole & Murphy. If you have been injured, contact them to learn about your rights and options.