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red dragin

Restraint movement during a ride

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The discussion of the harness movement on Arkham Asylum got me thinking, what other rides have people experienced restraints moving during the ride, either tighter or looser?

Tighening - The Arkham Asylum harness gradually tightens throughout the ride. On my last visit, I intentionally held it up slightly with my legs to buy some space for the end of the ride. Still got the crushing at the end but not as severely. I noted it tightening throughout the journey, particularly through the helix.

Loosening - My recollection was a ride on Cyclone once, where the ratchet mechanism mustn't have completely caught the next tooth, subsequently on one of the (many) jolts my harness clicked upwards. Needless to say, it was pulled down hard very quickly and held onto for the remainder of the ride. My wife experienced similar once too, I think it was with the old Lethal Weapon seats.

I don't intend this thread to be a "this place has shoddy maintenance" witch hunt, more a place to share experiences.

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Keep in mind that after a roller coaster your breathing has changed.

You're excited, you might have been screaming or holding your breath or any number of things but most importantly it means you will be breathing differently, most likely by taking in more air which is causing your chest and diaphragm to expand further than normal.

When you started the ride you were probably breathing normally so the restraints are quite comfortable but by the end when you are breathing heavier they are feeling much tighter. As you calm your breathing you'll notice the restraints get a bit looser again.

I can't remember which park it was but when I was in the US they undid my restraint at the start because it was too tight and i'm very glad that they did because i remember by the end of the ride it was tight again.

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That is true, though in the case of Arkham Asylum it is a crushing across the thighs, and is definitely movement of the restraint. 

The valving stops the fluid from allowing the restraint to release on the ride, but doesn't prevent it from tightening. There is a bit of submarining going on in the brake run too I would expect, though the new magnetic brakes having nothing on the old friction brakes!

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The Mack restraints on DC Rivals are amazing as they allow for a tiny bit of movement, loosening or tightening, making them the most comfortable restraints I've ever used. I've seen this be mistaken multiple times by guests as the restraint not being locked properly.

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My non-engineering brain simply assumed that the harness on AA didn't move during the ride, and the motions of the ride just caused my legs to slip forward under the bar - jamming it in tighter. I wouldn't have thought the harness would allow movement in either direction once secured.

My limited knowledge on hydraulics tells me if a ram can move down, that means fluid is permitted to escape from the bottom of the cylinder, however the ram can't move down without causing a vacuum in the top of the cylinder (which would try to stop the ram from moving down) unless fluid was allowed to enter the top cylinder - if fluid can enter the top cylinder, then only a very sophisticated setup of one-way valves is going to only allow that to move in one direction.

I'm not claiming to be any sort of expert here - i'm a complete novice - is there anyone here who can explain this to me or talk about how the restraint locks actually work?

I would have thought that the cylinders would lock in place prior to dispatch - as allowing them to move in either direction could lead to catastrophic consequences...

or is all this irrelevant, and its not actually hydraulics but a ratchet lock? anyhow - hope someone out there knows something about these things and can answer it!

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Why would the restraints tightening during the ride lead to catastrophic consequences?

They definitely cannot loosen, but they seem to tighten. I've sat as far back as I can to avoid exactly what you've described, and the restraint just ends up pushing in further forwards on my thighs (which is much worse than it pushing down at the top of the thighs, it's like a pressure point).

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I'm not sure how the hydraulics work exactly as far as the valving goes, but those I have experienced appear to allow tightening to occur.

The ride attendants are able to push them down if you've left it a bit loose (and aren't using your legs like I did on AA to hold it up a bit), but they can't pull it up without a seat or full release depending on the specific ride.

Rivals for instance, my wife was able to get the belt latch in and the hydraulics held the harness in place, but it wasn't low enough to give a green light on her seat. They tried push it down but just fell short and I got called names as she left (we agreed on the Top Gear leave them behind method 😄). Fingers crossed for her on Wednesday when we try again.

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