Amusement rides are as safe today as they were yesterday, and the day before.
Despite last month’s news on the fatal accident that killed an 18-year-old at the Ohio State Fair, the rides you’ve grown to love are as safe as they have been. On the other side of the coin, they are as susceptible to accidents as they have always been, too.
The Altamont Fair opens its gates next week, and it is the start of a two-year celebration of its 125-year history. It serves as the greater Capital District’s summer fair, and for those who have grown up here, it is the setting to many good memories.
We reached out to the fair’s organizers this year, and specifically asked about the rides. You’d probably be surprised that the question was expected, and welcomed. After all, here is the opportunity to speak with our readers on the one topic that will concern all who choose to attend. Perhaps, most importantly, it may be the biggest factor that draws people away from the fair this year.
Let’s be honest. From the moment we all step upon the paved area that is the Altamont Fair’s midway, we each have determined ourselves to be one of two people: thrill seekers or casual observer.
For the thrill seeker, the fair conjures up the anticipation of riding as many of the rides as humanly possible. With, perhaps, a tried and true method of avoiding motion sickness. There’s also the excitement that comes from the grand reveal of the newest ride, often described as the next, scariest thing.
The casual observer sits on the sidelines. The midway may not even be a priority. But, upon visiting, the sight of some rides serve as a reminder as to why you choose to keep your feet planted on the ground.
Today’s headlines should not deter anyone from visiting the fair this year. Whether your choose to ride this year or not is certainly your choice. But, consider how often the fair has rolled into town, and how few accidents have occurred — if you can remember any. Each ride is inspected before each fair. Every time the fair comes to town, the state Department of Labor inspects your favorite stomach-churning metal contraption designed specifically to bring back that fried dough you ate ten minutes before.
According to the Department of Labor’s website, there is a three-step process for each inspection:
Each individual part and component of a ride is inspected for defects.
The ride is assembled and inspected again to ensure that all components have been assembled and secured properly.
Ride operators run each ride before yet another inspection. The person operating the ride is also observed to ensure that he or she is operating the ride correctly.
Last year, inspectors performed nearly 1,600 inspections on more than 9,000 amusement devices and issued more than 2,900 orders to correct violations.
If everyone follows the rules, people should be safe to go on those amusement rides, as they had in the past. We don’t expect to convert the casual observer out there to hop on a ride. But, if you’ve always been a thrill seeker, we hope this brings back your confidence.