The death of a young man on a ride at the Ohio State Fair, Wednesday, July 26, calls into question the safety of all amusement rides. There are no firm statistics on amusement-ride safety. What information is available indicates amusement rides are safer than riding in a car, smoking cigarettes, and even fishing.
James Ball, a writer for the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper, pointed out amusement ride incidents are like plane crashes– because they are so rare, they receive much extensive news coverage. An auto accident in which someone is killed? It makes the local news, but usually not national news.
Amusement rides are designed to give the rider the biggest thrill possible, while keeping the rider safe. They are inspected by states and by the operators. Millions of people strap into rides like the Fireball, the ride that broke apart in Columbus, and the Freak Out, which may come to the Fulton County Fair again– and live to tell the tale.
Just like riding in a car, there is always a chance that something may happen. The Fireball was inspected prior to July 26, yet still threw a gondola full of people to the ground.
Anything that lifts you, puts you at odd angles, spins you, or tosses you around has a danger aspect. Then again, so does riding a bicycle, climbing a ladder, or working under a car.
Every activity has risk. How much risk do you choose to take?