Whenever I go to a amusement park, I always go rIde the most thrilling roller-coaster. However, I am always the only one among my friends who is not afraid of riding roller-coasters. My friend always ask me: don’t you feel like you are risking your life by riding roller-coasters? I really want to prove them wrong but I feel like I do not have enough evidence. Since our class has been discussing the risk of vaccines, I think I can write a post about the risk of riding roller-coaster.
A lot of anecdotes
Andrew emphasized that anecdotes are very powerful. My friend’s story serves as a great example. My friend used to play those most terrifying roller-coasters, until she heard that a friend of hers got stuck on a roller coaster upside down for around 40 minutes. She was frightened after her friend told her the story and said she will not ride roller coasters anymore. This reminds the cheerleader’s story we watched in class which is a very powerful anecdote at that time that causes many people to believe in the danger of vaccines, although it turned out to be a lie.
Similarly, a lot of roller coaster accident happened in the past years. When I searched for “the worst roller coaster accident” the result came out are just painful to see. According to usatoday, a women was thrown out of a roller coaster and died in Six Flag in Texas. Accidents must have affected so many people, especially those who are eye witnesses. A witness of the six flag accident Ashley Steffen tweeted, “The fact that woman fell from the six flags roller coaster & died makes me never want to ride one again.”
How likely is death and injuries caused by roller coaster?
What is the chance of a person being killed or injured on a roller coaster? When I searched online for statistic, I cannot find any specific report on the statistic of death and injuries on roller coasters. According to healthresearchfunding.org, “there are over 297 million people in the United States alone that have had the opportunity to ride 1.7 billion different amusement park rides, most of which being roller coasters.” The Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions concluded that there is only 1 over 24 million chance of being killed on roller coasters and 8 can be injured in every million days. According to the guardian, going fishing is even more risky, with 88 injuries every million days, than riding roller coasters. I can say the relative risk is that injury when fishing happen 11 time more likely than injuries on roller coasters. However, I think bias can exist because the data is from the Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions so the number of death might have been underestimated.
There are some extremely contradicting datas such as this, which said that there are 20 injuries in amusements park everyday. Research collected data from emergency rooms across America during the time period of 1990-2010 and found that around 93,000 children are injured on rides in amusement park. However, people are actually more likely to be killed on the car ride to amusement parks than on the rides in amusement parks. As we talked about in class, car crashes kill 40,000 each year, which means around 100 everyday.
I found that it is very hard to gather exact data of deaths and injuries on rides as the Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions can be a huge bias. Also, it is hard to determine what exactly mean by roller coaster accident death because many people were killed by roller coasters when they are not the rider. Researchers or reports always analyze by “rides”, which include many rides other than roller coasters in amusement park. I cannot even find consistent datas online. More reports are definitely needed. However, I cannot say roller coasters are safe but I can say you are more likely to die in a car crash than on a roller coaster.