TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Death From the Coney Island Cyclone...Maybe.

The New York Post has a story (with the typically restrained title "Cyclone Rider's 'Killer' Thriller") relating the story of one Keith Shirasawa.

Shirasawa, a California musician, was visiting Coney Island with his girlfriend and rode the famous Cyclone roller coaster.  According to his family, during the ride's first drop (which is, I can confirm from many rides, quite a drop) he felt pain in his neck.  After the ride, he started to lose sensation, and, after some time, went to a local hospital, where he learned he had fractured three vertebrae.  The surgery apparently went well -- he was "walking around -- but due to a complication not explained in the story, he died the next day.

His family has retained counsel but has not filed sued as yet; the park says they don't have any record of the injury and is clearly walking cautiously. 

The story raises interesting potential questions of risk assumption, both general (what injury risks do you assume when boarding any coaster?) and specific (what what injury risks do you assume when boarding the Cyclone, which the Post describes as "famously rickety"?).


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Doesn't matter if it's 'famously rickety' don't be ridiculous.
If it's not safe it should not be operating, if it is operating it is reasonable to assume it is safe.

WGC notes: How do you define "safe"? Many entirely "safe" activities may sometimes cause harm. It's reasonable to assume that it falls within some definition of safe, but not necessarily that it won't, for instance, shake you around a whole lot. Which it will.

Posted by: dromedary | Dec 7, 2007 9:02:28 PM

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