What Are The Odds of Dying on a Ride at a County Fair?
Everyone's worst amusement park nightmare came true over the weekend: A woman who wasn't properly secured in a roller coaster at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas fell out and died.
As we head to theme parks and gear up for county fairs, it's natural to worry about ride accidents. Should we be worried?
According to the most recent statistics, in 2011, around 1,415 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.
While they don't have firm stats on the number of deaths, "USA Today" believes there might've only been one amusement park death in 2011.
What might surprise you the most are the types of rides that seem to have high rates of injury. Though not fatal, most accidents seem to happen on what you might consider "smaller" rides.
One study tracked accidents and injuries resulting from amusment park rides and found that almost 21% of injuries took place on merry-go-rounds or carousels.
When it comes fair rides, the federal government does regulate movable carnival rides through the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 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.
Some of the information here is inconclusive becuase some of the injuries reported didn't differenciate between accidents happening at theme parks vs movable carnival rides so it's kind of hard to really 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 injured in a car accident on the way to the fair than on a ride.