Roller coasters are an amazing source of fun as many families around the world visit their local (and destination) amusement parks around the world. The immense amount of thrill and excitement that individuals can harness from a single ride on a coaster is something to remember for the rest of their lives. But the real question pertains to whether these thrills are worth risking your life or not. Roller coaster deaths are rarely brought to the attention to the public, unless they gather an immense amount of media coverage, but they do happen in amusement parks every year.
Devising a System to Track Roller Coaster Deaths
With the sheer number of amusement parks around the world, it is incredibly difficult to track the number of individuals who die on roller coasters per year. The number one issue associated with determining the amount of coaster deaths pertains to the fact that there isn’t a specific method of catching all of these fatalities. With that being said, the majority of statistics pertaining to roller coaster deaths are estimates.
Also, there are very few researchers who have published studies or even looked into the amount of individuals who die or who are injured by riding amusement park rides such as roller coasters.
Child and Teenage Injuries
Dr. Gary A. Smith, the Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio is one of the few researchers who have spent an ample amount of time attempting to track the amount of people who have been injured and killed by amusement park rides – more specifically roller coasters.
According to his research, over 4,400 children and teenagers under the age of 18 years old are injured on roller coaster rides in the United States. This accounts for about 20 children a day during the peak season for amusement parks. This number could be exponentially higher, but the problem is that many injuries are not monitored and recorded for review.
National Roller Coaster Deaths
By delving further into his studies, Smith has discovered that injuries from roller coasters are far more common than deaths. With over 52 deaths tied to roller coasters that were logged in reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission between 1990 and 2004. Unfortunately the Consumer Product Safety Commission no longer tracks data associated with deaths and roller coasters. Therefore it is generally up to media outlets to produce information pertaining to recent deaths from amusement parks.
The Likelihood of Dying on a Roller Coaster
Statistics are an important factor to take into consideration when you begin riding an ample amount of roller coasters. There are over 297 million people in the United States alone that have had the opportunity to ride 1.7 billion different amusement park rides, most of which being roller coasters. According to the Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the chances of dying on a roller coaster fall between 1 in 24 million.
It is incredibly unlikely that you will incur a fatal injury while riding a roller coaster due to the fact that they are known to be one of the safest activities that you can participate in throughout the entire world. There are a variety of different agencies that spend an ample amount of time ensuring that roller coasters meet specific safety codes before they are open to the general public. Considering that roller coasters are viewed as such a dangerous object, they are put through an ample amount of strenuous tests. The safety of these amusement park rides are what helps to keep the total amount of fatalities so low.
The Causes of Roller Coaster Fatalities
When someone hears that there has been a roller coaster death, they may immediately assume that the ride itself was at fault. When in reality, the deaths attributed to roller coasters could be as a result of other factors such as pre-existing health conditions that a rider may have. As per a case study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, 40 people were killed between 1994 and 2004 from riding roller coasters. 11 of these fatalities were a result of injuries from falls or coaster collisions. 18 of the 40 patrons died from medical conditions that may have been exacerbated by riding the coaster. 15 of the fatalities were due to cardiac issues or brain hemorrhages. Finally, the remaining 11 deaths were all caused by specific injuries and related to individuals who were employed by the amusement parks.
Roller coasters have always been seen as the number one attraction at an amusement park. With that being said, they are often viewed as excessively dangerous. In all actuality, there is an incredibly low chance that you will die from riding a roller coaster as relatively few people are even injured on these rides every year.