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45 LawNow 11 (2020-2021)
Ride at Your Own Risk: Amusement Parks and Liability

handle is hein.journals/lanow45 and id is 316 raw text is: Ride at Your Own Risk:
Amusement parks and

Lee Klippenstein
What does it mean to do something at
our own risk? And who is ultimately
responsible when accidents do happen?
When I was young, winter officially ended
with family outings to (the recently closed)
Wild Rapids waterslide park in Sylvan Lake or
to Calgary's Callaway Park. These amusement
parks offer thrill and excitement - our
bodies are placed in unnatural positions
and subjected to high speeds. They are the
epitome of fun.
Amusement park rides can turn these thrills
into disasters. Action Park in New Jersey, the
subject of a recent documentary, is an extreme
example. Six people died during the park's
18-year run, and countless more were injured.
Action Park was once advertised as the world's
biggest water park. However, the constant
stream of lawsuits led to its closure in 1996.
In Alberta, tragedy struck in 1986 at West
Edmonton Mall's Galaxy Land. A mechanical
failure caused the Mindbender roller-coaster
to derail. This disaster took the lives of three
people and hospitalized 19 more. Catastrophes
like this are rare, yet the possibility of harm is
Reasonable notice of the
waiver clause is crucial, but
practically speaking, it comes
down to shared responsibility.
This article will examine the legal rights we
give up when we enter an amusement park.

What does it mean to do something at our
own risk? And who is ultimately responsible
when accidents do happen?
Safety Standards and Regulations
Amusement parks are designed to be safe.
Governments regulate the operation and
maintenance of these parks through a variety
of means. In Alberta, standards for these rides
are set by the Amusement Rides Standard
Regulation under the Safety Codes Act. The
Alberta Elevating Devices & Amusement Rides
Safety Association (AEDARSA) is an additional,
independent, body which helps to enforce
and maintain these standards. This means that
amusement park attractions are subject to
a strict set of rules. Park owners have a legal
duty to protect riders.
Accidents may be rare, but what happens
when they do take place? The events which
lead to the injury are always relevant. Was
the rider following the rules, or misbehaving?
Was there a mechanical failure, or did the ride
attendant act negligently? In most instances,
the legal responsibility for an injury is
determined by the park's liability waiver.
What is a Waiver?
Waivers are a common element of many
contracts. They require you to consciously
give up a right or privilege that you would
otherwise have. In the amusement park
context, guests are asked to give their consent
to a subset of waivers known as liability
waivers. They require you to give up your
right to make a legal claim against a company

Feature The Law of Fun



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