You read that right. Contrary to popular belief, riding a roller coaster is one of the safest activities you can enjoy. In fact, you’re so safe on a roller coaster, you are more likely to get injured by playing golf, folding a lawn chair or pulling someone in a kids’ wagon.
There are many safety features that go into keeping you safe on each and every ride at Kings Island. From the maintenance inspections every morning before park opening to the countless hours of training that each ride associate receives prior operating the ride.
Every morning before a ride can run test cycles, the Kings Island maintenance team looks over everything. From making sure the seatbelts are in good working order, all the way down to each nut and bolt on the train. If anything doesn’t look how it should, the mechanics correct the problem and continue their inspection. Once all parts are approved, the test cycles begin. Maintenance will run what is called a Blocks Test to ensure all safety features are working properly. Blocks tests include trying to dispatch a train with an unlocked restraint or the loading gates open, trying to dispatch a train to an area that another train is already in, and making sure the train doesn’t dispatch when the dual-dispatch button isn’t being pressed. When the mechanics complete their blocks test, the ride operators perform the test again to double check each safety feature. The ride operators performing this test aren’t new kids on the block. They’ve been around the ride for multiple seasons, have worked hundreds of hours at that ride and know it like the back of their hand.
These safety features are controlled by the programmable logic controllers, or the PLC. The PLC controls everything on the ride. The regulate the ride’s speed, ensure that no two trains come too close to each other and alert operators of any technical glitches or track obstructions. The PLC eliminates the possibility of the ride leaving the station with an unsecured restraint or the ride attendant forgetting to apply the brakes.
Next time you’re on a roller coaster, just remember that they’re designed to give you a thrill. So just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!