Disabled Providing Input for Roller Coasters
By Michelle Porter
I was asked to look at a roller coaster ride to see how best to make it accessible. As a person who uses a chair, it is always great to have input BEFORE something is built rather than approach them later with the barrier it presents. And since I used to LOVE roller coasters, this was exciting to participate in. (Note: I don’t really like them anymore, but I can still help!)
They were specifically looking for input on getting on the roller coaster. The coaster is being built in Ohio. I first gave them information on what it’s like for a para to ride a coaster, such as a persons’ legs will need to be secured in so they won’t swing around during the ride. Then we began to look at options for boarding.
At first they had a metal piece in between the persons wheelchair and the ride. The metal is needed for safety. They had steps on the platform (which is absurd!). So after some demonstrations we helped them determine they need to ditch the steps. And the metal piece needs to tip down on hinges so it’s completely out of the way. That way the chair can be much closer to the seat for easy transfer. We discussed making these bars lock into place so a person can use the bar as a handle to transfer. The seats will be SUPER cushiony to take the pressure off the back and bootie.
This coaster is predicted to reach 75 mph, possibly the fasted coaster yet!