I felt a lot of sympathy when news broke last Friday that a woman died while riding a roller coaster at Six Flags in Texas. While riding the most popular attraction at the park, The Texas Giant, the woman was ejected from her seat and fell 75 feet to her death. Not a pleasant way to die.
Before taking off on the ride, fellow passengers told investigators that they heard the woman tell one of the roller coaster workers that she did not feel secure. Yikes.
I am not a big roller coaster fan. In fact, unless someone is challenging my manhood or a cute girl is begging me to ride with her, I will pass. The biggest reason for this is not because of the high speeds. It is not because of the possibility of throwing up when I go upside down. It is not because of the violent dropping of the stomach I get when cruising down the big declines. Rather, the reason why I usually avoid roller coasters is because of how I feel riding them, the exact same way the Six Flags victim felt right before her disastrous ride took off…unsafe.
I feel pretty uneasy when I get on a roller coaster or some other mega thrill seeking ride. I have had times when I felt like I was going to get blown off, fall off, or have something hit me. Instead of enjoying the ride for its twists and turns and adrenaline rush, I have had times where I wondered if I would get off alive.
I feel this way even though I know the facts. After the Texas incident it became a well-distributed statistic that the chances of getting seriously hurt on a roller coaster is 1 in 24 million. But for whatever reason, when I get on a coaster I feel as if 23,999,999 riders have successfully made the voyage and I am passenger #24,000,000. I think I just lack the nerves of steel to ride some of these attractions because I know many people who actually enjoy feeling unsafe and completely powerless.
I don’t think I am completely irrational when it comes to roller coasters, though. I have recently rode New York, New York in Las Vegas, one of the most recognizable and biggest roller coasters in the nation. I have dominated Disneyland/Dinseyworld coasters. I will also ride from time to time roller coasters that I am firmly seated in as opposed to bars coming down and locking my body in.
I stay away from the roller coasters at the smaller amusement parks, especially the older attractions. I also don’t go near carnival thrill rides. I have seen way too many questionable practices and one too many 20/20 reports to know that you have to have a death wish to ride some of those junkers. I actually think a lot of my distrust for the more secure and legitimate larger coasters came from the creaky, clunky rides at the fair.
As sad as I am to say it, what happened last week in Texas kind of puts a little bit of rationality to my roller coaster concerns. Let it be known, I will not be making a spur of the moment late summer trip to Silverwood this year. Don’t Blink.