Monday, July 22, 2013

Thoughts on Responsibility

If you've been paying attention, then you will know that a woman fell off a steel hybrid roller coaster in Texas.

An unfortunate accident, but part of the sequence of events gave me thought. The woman complained to the ride operator that she did not think her safety bar was properly engaged. The ride operator said "Oh, it clicked. It's fine."

Clearly it was not fine. The ride manufacturer is insisting it is impossible for the safety bar to break or to open mid-ride...but first of all, no mechanical failure is ever "impossible."

So, we have several levels of responsibility here.

The manufacturer is responsible for making cars in which it is as hard as possible for the bar to malfunction.

The park is responsible for properly maintaining the rides.

The ride operator is responsible for making sure everyone is secure before the ride started.

But the woman herself was responsible for her own safety.

Did she pass that responsibility on when she asked the ride operator to check the bar? I am a firm believer in checking my own safety gear - but most likely she did not have the expertise to know for sure whether it was properly secured or not.

I place ultimate responsibility with the ride operator, but I would also say this: If you are not comfortable about ANY safety gear - don't use it. The last time I didn't check everything thoroughly I ended up cantering a horse with one stirrup hanging off my foot - oops, and could have been a worse problem if I wasn't a competent rider.

Something made that safety bar ineffective. Something that the passenger concerned noticed but, like any of us, she listened to the "expert."

I blame, ultimately, the ride operator. Perhaps he was more concerned about getting the ride off on time than safety.

Perhaps. It's hard to tell. But it was his responsibility to make sure that didn't happen, in the end.