Who Decides Who Rides: Examining Amusement Ride Access Policies and Title III
46 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 1, 2018
Have you ever visited an amusement park and watched a park employee instruct a guest that he or she may not experience a ride because of a certain physical attribute? Have you ever wondered how these policies are created? A trio of Title III wrongful discrimination claims filed against amusement park owners in 2012 and 2013 illuminated the tension that exists between Title III ADA regulations, Access Board guidelines, state regulatory schemes for amusement rides, and individual rider access policies on amusement rides. Circumstances did not require the courts to analyze the creation, implementation, and regulation of amusement ride access policies, so the issue of whether these access policies violate Title III was not fully discussed. This article does just that. Manufacturers and owners of modern amusement rides adhere to practice standards that regulate the design, construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of amusement rides. These standards, created by ASTM Committee F-24, provide the framework for the creation and implementation of rider access policies on modern amusement rides. Evidence suggests that owners of amusement rides likely adhere to Title III’s selection criteria exceptions when they restrict access to individual guests based on manufacturer-created rider access policies created in accordance with ASTM standards. Despite arguments that rider access policies are over-reaching and duplicitous, owners and manufacturers strive for transparency and inclusivity, increasing potential rider access by working together to create new devices that increase experiences for disabled riders on the newest, most thrilling amusement rides.
Keywords: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, Disability Law, Title III, Manufacturing, Amusement Ride, Amusement Park, Selection Criteria, ASTM
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