Amusement parks, fairgrounds: what rules for ride safety?

Images of a merry-go-round on the verge of tipping over at a carnival in the United States are making the rounds on social networks. What are the regulations in France? We take stock with Arnaud Bennet, president of the National Union of Leisure, Attraction and Cultural Spaces.

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The tragedy was fortunately avoided. At a carnival in the state of Michigan in the United States, a carousel is about to tip over, creating amazement among the crowd. It was the courageous intervention of passers-by that made it possible to avoid a tragedy. The images are making the rounds on social networks.

The incident occurred across the Atlantic. But in France, what are the regulations regarding rides? We take stock.

Strict regulations

Although they are rare, accidents can happen in amusement parks or fairgrounds in France. The latest in France dates from July 4, 2020 at the Saint-Paul amusement park, in the Oise. A 32-year-old woman then fell from a merry-go-round and could not be revived.

It is a law of February 2008 which lays the legal foundations for the safety of attractions. She specifies that “ the rides, machines and installations for fairgrounds or amusement parks (…) are subject to an initial and periodic technical inspection relating to their operating condition and their ability to ensure the safety of persons “.

Amusement parks: a rigorous protocol

We have maintenance cycles that follow very precise specifications “says Arnaud Bennet, president of the National Union of Leisure, Attractions and Cultural Spaces (SNELAC), which represents Disneyland Paris or Aqualud. He wants to be reassuring. While introducing a difference between fixed attractions and removable attractions: for him, the safety of rides is more rigorous when they are not mobile.

We have non-removable equipment, and therefore much heavier. (…) In a traditional park, you have daily control of the attraction during its use. There are points that are checked every day. During the winter, you have maintenance cycles which take up the specifications of the manufacturers, the regulations, the standards… »

Arnaud Bennet mentions the “European standards” with which amusement parks must comply, but also the legal specificity concerning amusement parks: “ We have an application decree on amusement ride safety which is specific to amusement park activities. »

Fairgrounds under the vigilance of mayors

The law states that “ any operator of amusement rides, machines or facilities is required to display the name of the inspection body and the date of the last inspection visit » .

Showmen must also present to the mayor of the municipality in which they settle the conclusions of the technical report or verification of their ride. When it is fully assembled, a certificate of proper assembly must also be presented to the mayor. The city councilor may then, if it deems necessary, prohibit any use of the carousel or request repairs or a technical inspection.

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Amusement parks, fairgrounds: what rules for ride safety?

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