Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Ever Said Amusement Parks Were Fun?

In issue 3 of Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite series, a coalition of flying robots called the Terminauts, created by the sinister Dr. Terminal, have set fire to a carnival and began wreaking havoc on a children's fair as our heroes from the Umbrella Academy tried to stop them. Though they found semi-valiently, the end result still appeared to be massive destruction and casulaties. Towards the end of the issue, Way and Ba produce a table of statistics of the current year's estimated number of amusement park ride-related injuries, courtesy of the Families Against Amusement Parks Association (FAAPA). Taking a look at his table, we can see a total of 2,173 injuries, a good 50% of which coming from roller coasters alone.

Setting out to find actual, real-Earth statistics on amusement park injuries, I came across a report from the National Safety Council for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA--I'm sure Way's acronym is not a coincidence), which reports similar data based on an annual survey. Below I have reproduced some of the data for the years 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Year
Characteristic
Total
Children's Rides
Family and Adult Rides
Roller Coasters
2005
Estimated Number of Injuries
1,713
192
1,131
390
2005
Percent
100%
11.2
66.0
22.8
2005
Injuries per Million Patron-Rides
0.9
0.8
1.0
0.9
2006
Estimated Number of Injuries
1,546
177
943
426
2006
Percent
100%
11.4
61.0
27.6
2006
Injuries per Million Patron-Rides
0.9
0.7
0.9
0.1
2007
Estimated Number of Injuries
1,309
134
759
416
2007
Percent
100%
10.2
58.0
31.8
2007
Injuries per Million Patron-Rides
0.7
0.5
0.7
0.9

As we can see here, the number of injuries in each year is less than the total number of injuries in the FAAPA data. Also, roller-coaster related injuries seem to account for a smaller proportion of the total injuries than they do in the Umbrella Academy universe. This is probably not due to any significant variation in methodology--the IAAPA data is taken from facilities that operate fixed-site amusement park rides and the table reproduced shows the ridership-based injury estimates. The FAAPA data also likely focuses on fixed-site rides.

I suppose the point is that the FAAPA data includes damage caused by the Terminauts and other such superhero/supervillain-related attacks. However, I wonder if these can really be considered ride-related injuries. Does anybody know whether the IAAPA data includes injuries or fatalities that occur through indirect sources? Suppose a robber decided to hold up an amusement park and wounds some civilians riding the carousel. Would this count?

No wonder that there exists an association against amusement parks. They're not all fun and games in comic books.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Families Against Amusement Parks"???I guess some people just want to go through life being mean-spirited rubes. Next thing you know, somebody will form a group "Families Against Laughing and Smiling".

Chris said...

Mind you, the Joker does seem to have a yen for amusement parks - they feature heavily in both The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns - which obviously pushes up the death count considerably.

Glen said...

There's also Arcade's Murderworld.

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