According to WAVY.com out of Virginia a recent guest at Busch Gardens Williamsburg reached out to them after the “collar came loose” on the park’s newest coaster, Tempesto. The new coaster takes riders back and forth before shuttling them through a thrilling barrel roll, loop and back down to the station. With accidents such as the one that happened at Alton Towers aboard The Smiler, guests are a little more apprehensive than normal about coasters. In this case, however, is it necessary?
According to WAVY, the 17 year old guest had been riding the coaster several times, when the harness came up on the coaster. The lap bar remained in place. The girl told ride operators, who shut the coaster down to check the issue, and reopened it 15 minutes later. Unsatisfied with the result, the guests’ grandmother called the park, but received no response about the issue. Instead of pursuing the park further, she went to the news station about the situation.
“I feel like somebody could get hurt on the ride or killed,” Gayle said.
Of course, the news station ran the story, and contacted the park. Busch Gardens Williamsburg responded by saying:
The safety of park guests and team members is our highest priority and we are very proud of our exceptional safety record. Safety and comfort are factors that we take extremely seriously for all of our rides.
Tempesto’s rider safety restraint system functioned properly and this guest was secure at all times. The ride’s safety restraint system was designed by the ride’s manufacturer and meets industry standards. The collar that came loose was added to the ride at our request for guest comfort, not safety.
A harness for comfort? Not safety? Of course the park is blowing this lady off, right? Not at all.
While we all are apprehensive about coaster safety, none are more concerned about it more than the parks. If an accident occurs on the attraction, then it’s detrimental for the park.
Still not convinced?
The top picture Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the bottom picture is Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Two different parks, but the coaster layout, manufacturer and model are exactly the same. The coasters are identical in almost every way, except the harnesses.
Both coasters are built by Premiere Rides, and both use the same cars, the same launch system, and the exact same layout.
Superman Ultimate Flight gives riders a sense of excitement with a simple lap bar, as they turn through the barrel roll. The only problem? Your head kind of goes knocking around from side to side. Busch Gardens Williamsburg had a solution, just put a padded shoulder harness on the coaster. See, it’s not the harness that is holding you in…it’s the lap bar.
Unless the lap bar feels loose, you’re not going to fall out. It’s designed that way, and designed with safety in mind. In fact, most safety belts on coasters are to give riders a sense of security, for the plain simple fact that once the harness (or in this case lap bar) is locked into place, it’s not going anywhere. The seat belt can flap around all it wants, but you’ll be safe inside. Why do you think you can remove the seat belt yet you cannot remove the harness until the ride operators release them?
Coasters, especially at a major park like Busch Gardens, are safer than driving cars, flying in an airplane and even taking a bath. They only seem like they’re dangerous.