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Ride Safety

Going on amusement park rides is one of the safest forms of recreation. According to the International Association of Amusement Park Attractions, you are more likely to be injured when you play sports, ride a horse, or even ride a bicycle. Statistics show the occurrence of death to be approximately one in 250 million riders.

What do other numbers say?
This group's statistics are supported by those of the National Consumer Product Safety Commission. It estimates that more than 270 million people visit amusement parks each year, and that 7,000 people out of those 270 million go to emergency rooms for injuries they receive on amusement park rides--that's only 0.00259 percent of riders.

What causes injuries?
Both of these groups report that the main reason for deaths and injuries on amusement park rides is preventable error. This would include such things as the lack of routine maintenance and the disregard of safety rules by both operators and riders. Almost every ride has a set of safety rules. These usually require that riders meet certain criteria relating to age, height, and weight, or warn them not to ride if they have certain medical conditions.

For example, small children might be barred from some rides because of their low body mass. People with back or neck problems may be at a greater risk of injury on rides that create force on these areas. A ride's designers understand the forces acting on the rider and create the safety rules for this reason.

For more information about amusement parks, safety, or the physics concepts mentioned in this exhibit, visit the Related Resources section.

"Amusement Park Physics" is inspired by programs from The Mechanical Universe...and Beyond.