Roller Coaster Accidents: They Happen

The day my daughter was at Cedar Point amusement park at a band competition, one of the rollercoaster trains of the Magnum XL-200 roller coaster ran into the back of another one at the station. It didn’t stop all the way, but this was barely a fender bender. The thing was going only 10 miles an hour. Still, two people were treated for injuries and one had an asthma attack.

Last year, a month after my daughter was at Kings Island with her middle school sports teams, the roller coaster Son of a Beast had a mishap when it abruptly stopped near the station. Then more than 12 people were hurt. Turns out, there was a broken timber.

How often do roller coaster accidents happen, I wonder? I love them and have learned the art of holding my neck with one hand while holding onto the safety bar with the other to keep from jarring my head with every turn. I found a couple resources that list rollercoaster accidents and their causes. lists rollercoaster fatalities and their causes between 1972-1997. Another, Theme Park Insider also keeps track. Because of the accidents, there is a bill, the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act in the works that would restore the jurisdiction of Consumer Product Safety Commission over fixed amusement park rides, but it hasn’t passed.

For the most, though, part roller coaster accidents happen because the riders make a mistake and not because the ride fails. Whew! My daughter heads to Kings Island this coming Saturday.