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What Are The Odds of Dying on a Ride at a County Fair?

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

One of the best things about a county fair are the rides, but I often hear a lot of people wondering about how safe they are. We looked into some statistics and what we found might surprise you.

"If you look at the numbers, you have a greater chance of being in a car accident on the way to the fair than on a ride."

According to some statistics, in 2011, around 1,204 people were injured on amusement park rides in the U.S.  That sounds like a lot but people took 1.7 BILLION rides in 2011.

That means only 0.000000008% of amusement park rides ended with someone getting injured.  In other words, only about one out of every 1.2 million rides ended in an injury.

2014 was a bad year for coaster fans, with reports of a coaster derailing at Six Flags and other incidents that bring the chances of being injured on a roller coaster to being more likely than than a shark attack.

Unlike theme parks, the federal government does regulate movable carnival rides through the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And most states have safety regulations over roller coasters and other big rides.  But generally, most safety regulation is left up to the amusement park industry.

It’s difficult to arrive at a conclusion because some of the reported injuries don’t differentiate between accidents happening at theme parks vs movable carnival rides; so it’s kind of hard to zero in on stats that are exclusive to a particular ride at a county fair.

It makes sense that the industry would do a thorough job of making sure we’re safe.  As fast as news and information is shared, if a particular company or manufacturer had an unusually high rate of injury, they’d go out of business.

In the end, all you can do is take a good look at the information at hand and make your own decision.  But if you look at the numbers, you have a greater chance of being in a car accident on the way to the fair than on a ride.

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