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Woman Asked To Exit CP Ride Over Prosthetic Arm


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Why the publicity now?

Why do I suspect the lawsuit is next?

...Keller told Parsons that she and her family wanted to go on the Shoot the Rapids ride when they visited the park.

"We were in line for a half hour, got on the ride, I was seated, put the safety bolt in place and the ride attendant came over and said, 'Can you remove your prosthetic arm?'" Keller told Parsons. "So where is he getting the idea that my arm is going to fly off? I have no idea," said Keller.

Keller said she explained that she couldn't remove the arm without disrobing."He said, 'Well, you won't be able to go on the ride at all,' and he lifted the safety bar and I had to exit the ride," Keller said.

Keller said she took her complaint to Cedar Point general manager John Hildebrandt, who wrote in a letter that the park has "a strict no loose article policy ... the safety of other riders and guests on the midway may be in jeopardy should your limb dislodge while riding.

"Keller said the policy is "just not right" and "discrimination based on nothing."Stan Holbrook, the executive director of the Three River Center for Independent Living, told Parsons that he thought Keller was discriminated against....

Hildebrandt told Parsons Tuesday evening that "Our No. 1 concern is safety. We will always err on the side of safety. We will always make the conservative decision on safety issues. That's what we are about and we make no apologies for it.

"Hildebrandt said that because of Keller's experience, the park will make one change by telling guest upfront about the ride restrictions when purchasing tickets.

More detail at:

http://www.wtae.com/...329/detail.html

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While not quite the same thing, but worthy of mention......with the prices charged for food at Cedar Point, I lose my butt all the time - and it is a loose item, as those who have ever seen me know!

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I think the associate and the park handled it perfectly well, and I do not think this lady was being "discriminated" against. It is a safety issue and if she doesn't like the policy, don't go to the park.

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From the 2011 Rider Safety Guide which is publicly available to all Cedar Point visitors (and is comprised of the "stuff" that's printed on each of those signs posted outside the attractions that people don't read):

Prosthetic Devices

Guests with any type of prosthesis should not ride

Power Tower, Raptor, Skyscraper, or Wave Swinger

unless they can ensure the device is properly

secured and will remain in place during the ride. If

there is any concern of the prosthesis becoming

dislodged during the ride, guests should visit the Park

Operations Office for assistance.

The manufacturer of maXair requires that prosthetics

be removed prior to riding.

The manufacturer of Skyhawk requires that guests

with any type of prosthesis should not ride unless

they can ensure the device is properly secured and

will remain in place during the ride. The manufacturer

also prohibits guests with any leg prosthetic devices

at or above the knee from riding. Guests with

prosthetic limbs must consult with Park Operations

or Town Hall prior to waiting in line or riding.

The manufacturer of Maverick, Shoot the Rapids,

Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, Wicked Twister

and WindSeeker requires that guests with prosthetic

devices provide Cedar Point with documentation

from the provider of their prosthetic device to

guarantee that the device will remain securely in

place while being accelerated to 120 miles per hour

and while the ride/rider incurs weightlessness at the

crest of the ride.

Guests with prosthetics which do not have any

exposed metal parts are generally permitted on all

waterpark attractions. Please consult with a member

of management prior to riding to ensure that Recent Surgery, Heart, Back,

Neck Problems and/or Pregnancy.

(Emphasis added). While the wording is a little odd (as it seems that the paragraph was written for Top Thrill Dragster, having the other rides added as they were built, it is still part of the Safety Guide. If that weren't clear enough, the specific section of the Guide dealing with each individual ride notes for Shoot the Rapids:

Shoot the Rapids

A 10 person shoot- the- chute ride. You will get wet!

Boats navigate through meandering rivers and climb

two lift hills and shoot through white water rapids

and rockwork. Guests must transfer in and out of wet

boats. The lap bars must be securely fastened against

the pelvis and muscular parts of the thighs. Maximum

rider height of 6'6". Guests with prosthetic devices

must contact Park Operations or Town Hall prior to

waiting in line or riding. Glasses must be secured with

an athletic strap. Special access is located at the ride

entrance. Warning: This ride contains strobe lighting.

Emphasis added.

In other words, this was no haphazard decision by an untrained employee. It's pretty clearly spelled out that to ride these rides one must do this, to ride those rides, one must do that, and to ride Shoot the Rapids (and Top Thrill Dragster and Maverick..) one must go to the Park Operations Office to provide documentation that the prosthesis will not fall off.

Cedar Point’s Ride Admission Policy has been

developed in consultation with a biodynamics

engineer and a rehabilitation specialist, based on

the recommendations of the manufacturer, our past

experience and our evaluation of each ride using our

knowledge of the ride in both normal and emergency

operating conditions. Our prime consideration is the

ability of each person to endure the dynamics of a ride

without risk of injury to that person or other riders.

Any guest who feels he may be affected by this

policy is encouraged to visit the Park Operations

Office to obtain a list of the rides he can safely

ride. Your Ride Admission Policy list will provide

information for our ride operators to help

accommodate you.

I can understand why so many day-to-day visitors ignore the posted safety signs or do not look through the Rider Safety Guide. They figure that their limitations are the ones the rides are designed to stay within. After all, "You know your physical conditions and limitations, Cedar Point does not" (so says the opening page to the safety guide). But if you have an obvious and striking physical impairment like a missing limb, why wouldn't you peruse the rules concerning it before visiting? That's sort of a big deal.

Basically, the woman simply couldn't have ridden under Ohio Revised Code Section 1711.551 which requires "that riders must obey all warnings and directions regarding amusement park rides..." The manufacturer recommended (read, requires in Ohio) that people with a prosthesis have documentation to prove their prosthesis' security. Granted, the employee could've explained that she needs to visit the Park Operations Office and have come information faxed over instead of simply asking her to exit the ride. But of course, who's to say he didn't except the woman who is probably eyeing a lawsuit?

http://www.cedarpoint.com/_upload/pdf/2011Rider_Safety_Guide.pdf

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From the article it is difficult to see if a lawsuit is coming, but in this case I would actually guess no; especially given the wording above. It is clearly not discrimination.

Like Terp said, though...why now?

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"Hildebrandt said that because of Keller's experience, the park will make one change by telling guest upfront about the ride restrictions when purchasing tickets.

More detail at:

http://www.wtae.com/...329/detail.html

This, I think, is the most disappointing. Another "I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else ever again" mentality.

When the reality is, if the seasonal, probably-teenage employee scanning tickets for entry had said, "Excuse me ma'am, do you have a prothetic limb?" we'd probably reading an article about how she felt singled out and pre-judged. There is no right answer, because certainly each employee cannot be expected to memorize every impairment possible, know the rides restricted for each, and ask each and every entering patron "what your problem is?"

And while I can understand being upset that you were asked to exit a ride due to manufacturer recommendations and park guidelines, I can't imagine A ) not at least going back and reviewing why you were ineligible to ride and B ) going to the press instead.

But that's the society we live in. When we don't get what we want, we complain right over top of the person trying to explain it to us, and instead take it to someone who will commiserate and tell us that we deserve everything we want regardless of the consequence.

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I think the associate and the park handled it perfectly well, and I do not think this lady was being "discriminated" against. It is a safety issue and if she doesn't like the policy, don't go to the park.

Can't agree more! When being trained to operate rides at Kings Island at least, you're instructed what to look for, what conditions can and cannot ride. So this employee was not out of place at all. Too many people complain about not being able to ride due to unusual body proportions, not being able to hold themselves up, casts, prosthetics, etc. but never read the policies before entering the line of a ride. I'm with you HTCO if you don't like the policy after you finally read the policy or are asked to leave the ride, don't ride that ride and/or don't go to that park.

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Hildebrandt said that because of Keller's experience, the park will make one change by telling guest upfront about the ride restrictions when purchasing tickets.

Um, okay... So the Admissions associates are now to become experts on ride restrictions? The way it's worded that's what it makes it sound like, but the more likely scenario is that the Admissions associates will be trained to direct the guest to Park Operations or Town Hall.

But what of the many, many ticket purchases made via avenues other than the front gate: AAA, grocery stores, group sales, internet, motels, etc.? A very small population of guests with prosthetics will be advised of the park policy at time of purchase. Hildebrandt's words sound good, but practical? For a majority of those in this situation, there will be no change from what the park already has in place.

Granted, the employee could've explained that she needs to visit the Park Operations Office and have come information faxed over instead of simply asking her to exit the ride.

Funny, I don't recall ever seeing a ride with a fax machine in the station. ;)

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Granted, the employee could've explained that she needs to visit the Park Operations Office and have some information faxed over instead of simply asking her to exit the ride.

Funny, I don't recall ever seeing a ride with a fax machine in the station. ;)

While that may be true, I bet that the Park Operations Office does. ;) ;)

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The bottom line is guest responsibility. If you are in a wheelchair, have a prosthesis, are pregnant, obese, etc., it is your responsibility to know the rules of the game, and I would think that you would do your research before just assuming the park will be accommodating.

Then again, that takes personal responsibility.

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If she wanted a copy of the restrictions, she could have asked for them when purchasing tickets. But that would require common sense.

I agree, but that's assuming she bought the tickets at the front gate. Other ticketing agents like the ones in my previous post would not have the ride restrictions available to give.

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...require common sense.

That died along time ago in this country. America loves for Politicians and Lawyers to tell them what they can/can't do.

I saw someone else mention personal responsibility/accountability. Sadly most people lack that nowadays as well.

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If she wanted a copy of the restrictions, she could have asked for them when purchasing tickets. But that would require common sense.

I agree, but that's assuming she bought the tickets at the front gate. Other ticketing agents like the ones in my previous post would not have the ride restrictions available to give.

The restrictions are readily available on the website. Regardless of whether or not the patron has the foresight and common sense to read such restrictions, its his or her responsibility to know them. The park has done its part in making the information available. It's on the informational signs in front of the rides and in the publicly-accessible Safety Guide. And if the woman had thought to visit the park's office (which I should think anyone with a severe impairment would do, if just to discuss limitations) she would have plainly been told the information.

Instead, she neglected to be prepared for what should be very obvious restrictions based on a prosthetic limb. And to follow it up, she bypassed communication with the park (as far as we are told) and went directly to the media. That in and of itself says something about this woman and what she's after... And it's not an apology or a plea that no one else have to go through this apparent torment again.

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I think it was right for the park to not let her ride. Even if it wasn't in the restrictions, it would still make an obvious safety issue. Its even worse when it does say it in the restrictions. If I had a fake limb, I would definitely call the park before going and check to make sure I would be able to ride.

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And to follow it up, she bypassed communication with the park (as far as we are told) and went directly to the media.

According to the article, she did communicate with the park first, and even got a response:

Keller said she took her complaint to Cedar Point general manager John Hildebrandt, who wrote in a letter that the park has "a strict no loose article policy ... the safety of other riders and guests on the midway may be in jeopardy should your limb dislodge while riding."

I completely agree that the restrictions are readily available if you know where to look, and if you have a medical condition that may possibly prevent you from riding, I would think that you would know how, or at least figure out how, to access it.

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Barring the employee doing something that was not mentioned, such as yelling at the woman, or otherwise being rude about it, the park nor the employee has done anything wrong. It sounds as if the employee did exactly as we are trained to do. The problem is most people forget the park isn't there for them, and is not obligated to do anything for them.

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Oh, really? You might want to read the Americans with Disabilities Act...the question of what is and what is not a "reasonable accommodation" is far from an open and shut one...

This incident happened last summer. Gee, I wonder when the Statute of Limitations expires for filing a lawsuit against Cedar Fair LP and/or its subsidiaries? Would a potential plaintiff get their story covered in the media right before they filed a suit? Shirley Knott?

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Wow, let's complain about everything now a days. If I had a prosthetic limb I would make it my responsibility to read the rider safety guide at every ride entrance before getting in a long line. I stand by the upper management on this one.

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Sorry Terp, you're right...Either way, let me rephrase. People forget the park isn't there for them, the park is there to make a buck, whether you're an enthusiast or an amputee. The underlying sense of entitlement is what bugs me, I deal with it every day when I'm working..."Rules?...They don't apply to me..." It's incredibly frustrating, and very telling as to why our world is the way it is. Working in a theme park has robbed me of any faith I may have once had in humanity.

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