Monday, July 12, 2010


So, with the Carnival operating in the Kingston Plaza this week, I thought I'd post this article on the safety measures associated with carnival rides.

Attention: According to the Federal Government, more than 7,000 Americans go to the emergency room every year after getting injured on carnival rides.

Here's the issue: The Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates how the rides are manufactured, but there is no federal oversight over how they are set up and maintained.

That's left to the states, and some do a great, thorough job, but others do nothing.

CLICK HERE to see how and how often your state inspects carnival rides

Carnival rides are supposed to be a little bit scary, not a lot. But terrifying accidents happen every summer for three main reasons: equipment failure, inconsistent state regulations and old-fashioned human error.

Some states inspect carnival rides every time they are set up in a new location, others only inspect them once a year. And six states perform no inspections whatsoever, according to the Commission.

"The best thing for the amusement ride industry would be a uniform set of regulations that are applicable in all 50 states." Martin said.

Even if the equipment is in good shape, operator error is the next variable. At an Indiana festival in May, two girls were injured on a ride that included a plunging drop. Authorities said the operator accidentally released the safety catch on the cage the girls were in and it opened.

And then there is the third factor: the human element.

Virginia and other states have passed rider responsibility laws that require carnival guests to behave on rides. Martin said our responsibility begins long before that.

"You, yourself, before you get on that ride are the final inspector," he said. "If it looks bad, it probably is. If it sounds bad, it probably is."

The National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials said that the vast majority of accidents are caused by the riders themselves.

"Generally speaking, mobile rides are safe," a spokesperson said. "Eighty-five percent of the accidents are caused by unsafe acts on the part of the rider or patron. The majority of ride operators today are very safety conscious."

What You Can Do to Stay Safe

Because some of the responsibility falls on riders to stay safe, here are a few things you can do.

Go on a weekday.

Try to go to the carnival on a weekday instead of nights or weekends, when it's more crowded and chaotic and more likely for accidents to happen.

Wear appropriate clothing and shoes.

Don't wear any clothing that dangles or drags and wear sturdy shoes -- no flip-flops.

Seat belt should be snug, but not tight.

Adjust your seat belt so it's nice and snug but not tight.

Keep arms, legs, head inside compartment.

Follow instructions about keeping your arms, legs and head inside the compartment.

Make sure ride has ended before exiting.

Keep in mind that many accidents happen when the ride is over and you're trying to get off. Problem is, often the ride really hasn't ended and people start to get out and then get struck. Make sure the ride operator has told you it's time for you to get out.


Anonymous said...

What about the political "circus" safety rules for Kingston? Is it true Sottile is going to raise taxes another 14%?

debbie said...

When my niece was 3 years old she was injured on a traveling carnival ride in Ct. She was dragged around the ride when the safety bar flew open and her sweater got caught in the gears. The spectators yelled in horror and screamed but the operator ignored the loud cries. Only when my brother(her father) jumped a 6ft. fence in one bounding leap hit the switch did the operator respond. Turns out the operator was deaf and had vision problems!!. So not only do you have to check out the equipment but also check out the operators on the ride. Make sure they remain alert at all times when the ride is in motion. My niece has scars on her arm and legs from lacerations & abrasions she received during the dragging about 6 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Good and timely post Mike. I was also wondering about where a traveling carnival such as this stands in regard to City finances. Do they rent the property? Does the City receive a portion of the revenue that is brought in? Etc...

Anonymous said...

I believe that the carnival is located on private property - not public property - Kingston Plaza owns that ball field.

Anonymous said...

I sold industrial chemicals for 18 years & one of the best customers were the mechanics @ these Carnivals. Why ?
Cause we gave out GIFTS if they bought our chemicals- LUBRICANTS - de-greasers- electrical sprays, etc,
They did NOT care 1 iota about how good it lubed their equipment, or cleaned their electrical circuits -
They only cared about what Buck knife or Fishing rod they would receive in exchange for a big order !!!

BEWARE all Carnival rides, folks,,, DANGEROUSLY "MAINTAINED"!