However, after reviewing safety statistics, the experts found that roller coasters are really safer than children's wagons or even folding lawn chairs in terms of yearly injuries. They said that although there are more than 100 deaths on American roads each year, the number who would be injured if they rode all the way through a roller coaster is only about half that many.
They also noted that while riding a roller coaster you are voluntarily putting yourself in dangerous situations where someone might hit you with their vehicle. A closed-in wagon or chair does not give you this choice; it is guaranteed to be safe as long as nothing breaks down. And doctors say that young people should have the right to make their own decisions about risky behaviors such as roller coaster riding.
Finally, they said that although roller coasters are exciting and fun, they are also powerful machines whose parts can malfunction. If you were to get in one that had just broken down, your chances of dying would be significantly higher than if you were in another type of ride that was operating properly.
So, yes, a roller coaster is safer than an automobile, but only because it is less likely to cause injury in the first place.
These g-forces may be lethal, but physicists understand them well enough that roller coasters are designed to exacting regulations that keep them far below safe levels. For example, a roller coaster might be required to carry 10 g's instead of its usual 20 to prevent too many people from getting sick at one time.
Even with these restrictions, a roller coaster can cause serious health problems for some people. Those who have heart conditions or other medical issues should not ride roller coasters unless they know they are healthy enough for it not to be a problem. People who are pregnant or nursing should not ride roller coasters either because of the sudden stops and twists involved in each ride.
Physicists have also learned how to design coasters so that they produce interesting effects without using gravity to do so. For example, a roller coaster might use loops or drops of various sizes to make riders feel like they're flying or falling at different speeds, but neither of these things would be possible without applying force.
Coasters also include elements that cause fear simply by their appearance- such as dark tunnels or tall towers- which can be just as effective at putting guests in touch with their instincts for self-preservation.
They discovered that each of the six fatal accident riders had undetected brain and circulation disorders, such as blood vessel abnormalities, malformations, or aneurysms, and fell into the risk categories already advised against riding roller coasters. The researchers also noted that all six men were over 40 years old.
The report concluded that people with these conditions are at increased risk for serious injury if they ride roller coasters and should not do so unless they have the mental acuity to know what might happen if they fall off the coaster.
In addition to the six men who died, another 112 people were treated in hospital for injuries caused by falling objects on roller coasters during the study period. Of these, four were under age 16 and seven were adults over 65 years old. The remaining 97 patients were between the ages of 17 and 64, with a median age of 26.
Overall, the rate of hospitalization after riding roller coasters is about one per 10,000 people. The rate is higher for children and older adults; it is approximately three per 10,000 children and six per 10,000 people over 65 years old.
The number of people who have a serious medical condition that prevents them from riding roller coasters is unknown.