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Quirks, concerns and flaws with Dreamworld's new Log Ride canopies

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Quirks, concerns and flaws with Dreamworld's new Log Ride canopies

Amid excitement about the long-awaited return of Dreamworld's classic Rocky Hollow Log Ride, there's one thing that stands out. The canopies they've added are unlike any log flume by any other theme park operator or ride manufacturer, and there's more than a few questions about them.

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Agreed. A completely unnecessary and counterproductive solution to a problem that simply doesn't exist! 

The steel frames and canopies should be removed asap.

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What's stupid about the roof is it doesn't achieve anything.  The only way for DW to control an idiot is to restrain them. 

An idiot entered Eureka Mountain to take photos.

An idiot tried to surf the Log up the lift hill and fell off.

It’s going to be the same idiot who climbs on top of the roof.

Problem now is it’s even more dangerous having an idiot on top of the roof than standing on the seat.

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2 hours ago, Skeeta said:

Going out on your own and modifying rides in ways that nobody else does or has before leaves you nowhere to go when the shit hits the fan.

Agreed, but i'm hearing a lot of people using the phrase "no other flume has done it" - and while this is likely true - there are two things we need to keep in mind:

  1. There always has to be a first for everything
  2. We constantly discuss how Australia has some of the highest standards in the world.

We've talked about rides identical to overseas counterparts that have additional restraint systems (seatbelts usually) added to them, despite no park overseas requiring them - and never has anyone called that out as being an issue.

Someone suggested our time is best spent debating the merits of the points this article raises - so here goes:

Shake Rattle and Roll
Sure, it's flimsy. it twists. It isn't meant to be load bearing. Just meant to smack you in the head if you try to stand up when you aren't in the station.  Does it need to grip the frame to do the job it's been designed for? Probably not. Ok - it rattles. Ever stood in Scooby's disco room with the music off? (of course you have). If i'm given the choice of having this ride open with a rattle, or demolishing the very last bastian of this park's history, i'll take the rattle.

Added weight? Are you fucking kidding me? I'd wager this contraption has got about 20kg maximum in it if it's aluminium - maybe 30kg if its all steel. Ok, the lever action claim has some merit, but have you inspected the sub frame to rule out that it hasn't been reinforced internally to withstand that?

New places to hold on and get fingers caught
People can hold onto the grab handles of the canopy. That sounds like such a massive issue...  /sarcasm

Now I haven't seen these frames up close for myself, so I don't have the benefit of seeing this first hand yet - but a concept that suggests pinch points and several centimetres of give doesn't seem to correlate to each other. From what I can see in the image, the moving parts consist of the 4 U brackets, and the locking mechanism itself. Assuming riders can't reach the locking mechanism, there really doesn't seem to be any inherent risk in a 'pinch point' when the roof can't move, and the U brackets have several centimetres of play... or perhaps I just need this particular issue explained a little better.

While Parkz typically writes factually, and without emotion, the use of 'slamming' is quite emotive and to me comes off a bit alarmist. Have you ever tried to slam a door that has only centimetres of movement? It sure sounds like the moving roof and the fixed frame contacts each other throughout the course, or taps, or - to borrow from the article's image caption "bumps" its way around the course.

This could certainly be a better design. they could have runners. They could use graphite lined rails. Rollers. There's many tweaks one could consider - but it all comes down to the risk factor. Someone could stick their car key into a powerpoint in the park. You don't see keylocks inserted into every publicly accessible powerpoint in the park though... why? because the likelihood of someone doing this is low. Clearly after 30 odd years, the risk of someone standing up on a flume was low too - but someone did it - and this changed the risk score. Perhaps stick your finger in the U bracket, break it or suffer some sort of laceration, sue them, and then they'll change.

Tripping Hazard
I think this is a bit of a reach. Standard human behaviour is to approach things facing forward. The exciting benefit of doing it facing forwards is that this is where your eyes are - which helps you see things better. It's unlikely in the extreme for it to cause you to trip on the way out, but if we really think that this trip hazard is a bigger problem than someone falling out of a boat and being macerated by conveyor belts and following boats - we can always apply some yellow vinyl, or perhaps a yellow pool noodle to go over the bar, as well as a audio voiceover in english and spanish warning people of the hazard.

The Whiplash Bar
This one doesn't make it i'm afraid. Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person's neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck.

The injury is caused by the hyperextension of the lower cervical vertebrae, and the hyperflexion of the upper cervical vertebrae. This is caused by the sudden motion-and-stop of the vehicle travelled in, not the fact that there is some form of headrest behind you (if it were, Disneyland's Splash Mountain Logs, with their higher backed rear would almost certainly be churning out lawsuits on a daily basis - given the much-higher-incidence of whiplash in collision litigation). Indeed, this is why modern car manufacturer's designed "active headrests" to limit the movement of a person's head during a collision by moving forwards. Even the wiki on 'head restraint' states a plain old headrest - which were made mandatory (I assume in the USA) in the late 1960s - were to prevent or mitigate whiplash injury in a collision.

Manual Handling
As a person who has suffered a workplace injury due to a repetitive manual task, this one should probably be the first on anyone's list of risks to consider when implementing something like this. The risk \ consideration is valid, but that doesn't mean the canopy is a bad idea. Most attractions at Dreamworld (or any theme park really) have a level of manual handling, lifting, strain, repetitive movement or awkward position. Its the nature of the job. But we know from a previous litigation case at Dreamworld that there are procedures to deal with manual handling risks - like rotating staff through positions regularly.

The lack of safeguards referred to in the article is a bit of an overreach. There are many rides where a loading attendant could be placed in peril by the senior operator, but there are procedures in place to deal with this - usually a thumbs up style procedure or similar. Should there be 'simple human error' (which is always a risk), the likely outcome is a very unceremonious tumble into the log, or over the otherside into the water. Sure - its a risk, but one that can be mitigated by having clearance procedures between loaders and panel operators that is clearly understood.

Ending
Damn straight alarmist and pedantic - but not without cause. Someone's heart is in the right place here, but there's a certain element lacking in this article which is normally there... its hard to put my finger on it... but I sense something is different to the usual Parkz way.

I'm not stomping my foot insisting the park can do no wrong. And i'm not suggesting that they couldn't have done this better (I see now another article pointing out exactly how other parks have fixed the problem) - and yes, they've done probably the cheapest solution to get them out of trouble... but how would most of us have reacted if they told us the reason they weren't opening log ride yet was because they couldn't afford to buy new boats with taller headrests? Most of us would have insisted on a retrofit solution to the current boats to do it cheaper and deliver the ride back into service quicker - which is precisely what they've done.

There's been a lot of talk about the park 'going it on their own' but we simply HAVE to assume at this stage that the park is checking every little thing they do with a professional organisation who specialise in the area. And who are we as enthusiasts (glorified general public as has been said previously) to suggest that the park has just chucked on something they whipped up in their workshop without it being rigorously tested (both physically and theoretically) against all possible risk?

Sure, they could have bought new boats - but with their slim profit margin, its hardly an option right now. Perhaps in time, these canopies will be modified as issues arise (real ones, not imagined) to improve them, or alternatively, in time, they can afford to buy Disneyland's old boats so it is better for everyone...

 

Just my 40c. Cue the onslaught. Happy to have opposing views so long as they're respectful. I don't claim to have the answers, I just take umbridge to an article that appears to.

1 hour ago, pushbutton said:

Agreed. A completely unnecessary and counterproductive solution to a problem that simply doesn't exist! 

The steel frames and canopies should be removed asap.

The problem exists - we saw it occur two years ago. The article even referenced it. Therefore the rest of your statement is pretty ridiculous.

36 minutes ago, Skeeta said:

What's stupid about the roof is it doesn't achieve anything.  The only way for DW to control an idiot is to restrain them. 

An idiot entered Eureka Mountain to take photos.

An idiot tried to surf the Log up the lift hill and fell off.

It’s going to be the same idiot who climbs on top of the roof.

Problem now is it’s even more dangerous having an idiot on top of the roof than standing on the seat.

The thing about a risk assessment is that you can never completely eliminate the risk unless you completely stop that activity. You would well know that it's all about control measures to mitigate that risk. Previously, a person could stand up on the ride and fall out. There were signs telling people to remain seated. But what if the guest couldn't read?

This roof physically prevents a person from standing up. It is obvious that you cannot stand in the boat whilst it is moving. If a person were to climb out - it would be clear intent, rather than ignorance. the Park would be able to show they did everything reasonable to prevent the injury occurring. Whilst the incident 2 years ago didn't find fault with the park, and reopened the ride two days later, since the incident is now foreseeable, if the park did nothing and the incident occurred again you could almost guarantee some degree of liability would fall on the park.

Edited by AlexB
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Some people like to talk like there hasn't been a host of engineers, safety inspectors and advisors that have gone over what was probably numerous designs to finally come up with something that ticks the boxes of;

safety

cost

doesn't expose them to further risk by the modification

and finally, have an engineering firm prepared to sign off on the modifications as "safe" and "fit for purpose".

Anyone thinks the design is exclusively of the park alone, that they plucked an idea out of thin air, applied it to the boats, with this as the result is being silly. That's before you even factor in the weight of the accident hanging over your head.

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If these canopies hadn't been fitted and another person became injured from standing up on the log ride in this period following the TRR tragedy, I am sure the public would be forgiving. People would understand that the fault lay with the rider, not the ride. The only expectation should really be sufficient warnings. There have been countless fatal incidents at parks overseas where people have fallen out of roller coasters, and indeed log flumes (a rider was killed on Splash Mountain Disney World after getting out of the log mid-course), but generally no modifications are made to these rides and they continue to operate. Why? Because they are isolated incidents relating to rider behaviour, not the safety of the ride itself.

Edited by GoGoBoy
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11 hours ago, GoGoBoy said:

If these canopies hadn't been fitted and another person became injured from standing up on the log ride in this period following the TRR tragedy, I am sure the public would be forgiving. People would understand that the fault lay with the rider, not the ride. The only expectation should really be sufficient warnings. There have been countless fatal incidents at parks overseas where people have fallen out of roller coasters, and indeed log flumes (a rider was killed on Splash Mountain Disney World after getting out of the log mid-course), but generally no modifications are made to these rides and they continue to operate. Why? Because they are isolated incidents relating to rider behaviour, not the safety of the ride itself.

Do you seriously think, given what has happened, and given the current outlook by a significant number of people that our parks are still death traps, dreamworld could survive another serious incident? Even if it wasn't to kill someone, it would only highlight that they knew about the issue given someone had previously injured themselves and throw a MASSIVE PETROL TANKER full of fuel on to the fire that safety is lacking in our parks and (insert which ever catch cry you choose; torn down, government should step in, etc,).

What would happen is the press would be all over it. They would start by referencing the deaths that occurred at the park, then they would blow up the previous story about the person that nearly drowned due to stupidity and turn it into a safety issue, questioning why another one of their old rides has been left to injure or kill someone, had they learned nothing from the past? Throw in some comments about ride break downs and safety, then round off the story by questioning the government safety inspectors, did they do their jobs properly? how can this happen? which would force the governments hand to step in with whatever ill advised, spur of the moment method they choose so they can show the members of the public they take this sort of thing seriously.

Basically, the majority of the public would listen to the media reports like last time, only now, some of the people who felt the media were continuing to attack the parks needlessly after the deaths would be swayed, wondering maybe there is something to the reports after all. Not only that, but you'd force the governments hand to make a grand spectacle out of anything they did, while the park sits there and suffers, possibly going through another round of closures while inspectors go through the park again.

Short of a massive fire, I really couldn't think of anything worse that could occur at the moment.
 

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Can somebody tell me how the LogRide roof stops this idiot from climbing it?

h.thumb.jpg.a2d5d2980499847dfeae9af7e1acd07f.jpg

When somebody can, I will listen to what you have to say.  Until that point in time, DW placing extra staff members around the ride telling people to sit would have done the same job.

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2 hours ago, Levithian said:

Do you seriously think, given what has happened, and given the current outlook by a significant number of people that our parks are still death traps, dreamworld could survive another serious incident? Even if it wasn't to kill someone, it would only highlight that they knew about the issue given someone had previously injured themselves and throw a MASSIVE PETROL TANKER full of fuel on to the fire that safety is lacking in our parks and (insert which ever catch cry you choose; torn down, government should step in, etc,).
 

I'm not gonna lie, you make a very convincing argument. It certainly wouldn't have been ideal if another incident had occurred anytime soon. But if it happened years later, I think it would be forgiven if the key factor turned out to be rider behaviour. I guess because of the magnitude of the DW tragedy, something had to be done. But I certainly agree with Parkz, that this wasn't it! I'm a big believer in looking to world's best practice, and not re-inventing the wheel (poorly), as Parkz was also arguing.

But having said that, what we don't know is where the decision to install this specific design came from, and what the advice and processes informing it were. So we are making generalised judgements without knowing the inner goings-on, I'll admit to that. I also agree with everyone else that it is still a big positive that the ride is open, so long as these canopies do not lead to bigger problems down the track that may again lead to its closure. I am very happy for all of those families visiting DW that can now enjoy the log ride again. It would have been nice if they added a bit more theming and ambience to it in sections -- not hard to do -- but still, it's open.

Edited by GoGoBoy
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New signs in the queue. 

Well I had to find something to do while I wait! 

Certainly seems like the canopies have significantly slowed down the loading process! 

 

151694517622928085952.jpg

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@AlexB despite the length and conviction you write with, it's probably best that you go and check things out for yourself. The article is a collection of thoughts based on aspects of the design that can be very easily observed.

At what point did the article make any claims to have any answers? You say that the article's heart is in the right place, but what heart exactly? Your response reads like it's debunking some brazen "gotcha!" type article but really it's a summary of observations and draws fairly straightforward conclusions:

  • Witnessing the whole frame warp under the gentle pressure of an attendant checking it's locked.
  • Witnessing the canopy rattling to such an extent that it's clearly visible and audible from 20+ metres away.
  • Witnessing the pinch points in easy reach, created by those U-shaped brackets and the way they freely rattle up and down.
  • Witnessing staff standing on one foot, leaning over the boat with one hand on the frame and the other on the canopy.
  • Witnessing the difficulty of four riders squeezing through the gaps between the frame and maneuvering over the side braces to lower themselves into the seats.
  • Witnessing that bar at neck height for most adult male riders.

 

On 1/25/2018 at 5:45 PM, AlexB said:

how would most of us have reacted if they told us the reason they weren't opening log ride yet was because they couldn't afford to buy new boats with taller headrests?

Probably the same way that people have reacted to Sea World or Movie World's ongoing SBNO flume rides? Vague indifference coupled with vague disappointment coupled with vague excitement for their respective replacement and reopening?

Parkz has never faulted a park for taking the time to do something properly.

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On 25/01/2018 at 7:45 AM, AlexB said:

We've talked about rides identical to overseas counterparts that have additional restraint systems (seatbelts usually) added to them, despite no park overseas requiring them - and never has anyone called that out as being an issue.

My trip reports do. 

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8 hours ago, Richard said:

@AlexB despite the length and conviction you write with, it's probably best that you go and check things out for yourself. The article is a collection of thoughts based on aspects of the design that can be very easily observed.

At what point did the article make any claims to have any answers? You say that the article's heart is in the right place, but what heart exactly? Your response reads like it's debunking some brazen "gotcha!" type article but really it's a summary of observations and draws fairly straightforward conclusions:

  • Witnessing the whole frame warp under the gentle pressure of an attendant checking it's locked.
  • Witnessing the canopy rattling to such an extent that it's clearly visible and audible from 20+ metres away.
  • Witnessing the pinch points in easy reach, created by those U-shaped brackets and the way they freely rattle up and down.
  • Witnessing staff standing on one foot, leaning over the boat with one hand on the frame and the other on the canopy.
  • Witnessing the difficulty of four riders squeezing through the gaps between the frame and maneuvering over the side braces to lower themselves into the seats.
  • Witnessing that bar at neck height for most adult male riders.

 

Probably the same way that people have reacted to Sea World or Movie World's ongoing SBNO flume rides? Vague indifference coupled with vague disappointment coupled with vague excitement for their respective replacement and reopening?

Parkz has never faulted a park for taking the time to do something properly.

What he said!! Spot on Richard, as usual.

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On 1/26/2018 at 11:00 AM, Skeeta said:

Can somebody tell me how the LogRide roof stops this idiot from climbing it?

h.thumb.jpg.a2d5d2980499847dfeae9af7e1acd07f.jpg

When somebody can, I will listen to what you have to say.  Until that point in time, DW placing extra staff members around the ride telling people to sit would have done the same job.

You don't have to stop EVERY single stupid thing a person does. You do however have to take all reasonable steps to limit the possibilities, especially after an incident has occurred. Just posting a sign is not enough. By modifying them it might only be a partially effective physical safety solution, but it is VERY noticeable. So much so in fact that any reasonable person would have no doubt that the covering is there to protect you from injury and stop you standing up. The park is seen to have done something about it, the solution does limit movement. If you climb out of a boat with a cage around it, it's a whole different situation than just standing up out of a boat with no harness or restrictions.

Safety amendments aren't always about how well it functions, sometimes it's also about how visual it is too. There is a LOT of deterrence in making something visually striking. More importantly, in situations where it really comes down to the stupidity of guests, (especially when combined with the deaths that occurred on similar aged ride which was lacking safety features), it's automatically clear they made changes.

I dare say that you can run boats around with dummies or put your staff on the ride during testing as much as you want, but there is nothing like feedback from members of the public. So if improvements could be made, based on the reports, then I can imagine you would see subtle changes being made in the future.

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2 hours ago, Levithian said:


Safety amendments aren't always about how well it functions, sometimes it's also about how visual it is too.

 

 

You're right.   It's ok for staff and guest to injure themselves as long as it visually does the job.  :blink:

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Isn’t it just an enthusiast point of view that the TRR accident was due to the modifications to the ride over it’s 30 year life, or has there been a report released which states this?

 

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10 hours ago, joz said:

For me the big one is this; have DW learned anything from TRR?  You just had an accident on an in house ride, that has been modifoed from it's original design in a way that allowed the accident to happen. Why would you repeat that process with another ride? No other manufacturer has made a ride modification like this, so why do DW feel that making their own modifications again is a good idea? Call MACK or Whitewater West or Intamin, explain the issues and get them to advise on solutions. If they can't fix them, you tear it all down and start again. You don't put in a half arsed solution that you are 100% exposed on if something else goes bad.

Thats not how it works. Obviously you would go back to who made your ride when looking to make changes. If they arent available, youd look to engage a registered engineer to aid in the design/implementation and sign off on the modifications as "safe" or "fit for use". 

It happens in construction much the same. If the original party cannot be retained when planning changes or modifications, theres a company with a registered engineer thats prepared to put it all on the line and sign off on the project. 

Theres no chance in hell they would modify something on their own without some process. One; you guys are kinda expecting teams of designers and engineers are readily employed by the park, along with the equipment/machinery to design and manufacture the components. It would end up having to be farmed out. Two; it means they accept all responsibility and are 100% liable. Given what has happened, the government inspectors would hang them without a registered engineer being engaged in the process. Even if they ultimately deemed the modification safe.

 

Edited by Levithian
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I guess it comes down to experience; are there engineers on site at DW? Yes. Would they know as much about log rides and log ride boats as engineers from a company who design and sell log rides? Of course not. When your solution is at odds with what everyone in the industry is doing, maybe outsourcing engineering might be a plan. 

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