Ready for Tigris: Roller Coaster Safety Tips for Busch Garden’s Newest Ride

When SheiKra first arrived at Busch Gardens Tampa, the 160-foot roller coaster attracted adrenaline junkies from around the world with its floorless bottom, intense loops, and heart-pounding dives. But its debut was back in 2005 and since then, thrill seekers have found themselves wanting more.

This week, Busch Gardens heard their pleas and unveiled their plans for Tigris, a new roller coaster. Tigris promises to take riders 150 feet in the air and send them hurtling, spinning, and twisting at 60 miles per hour. When it opens in the spring of 2019, it will be Florida’s tallest roller coaster. For theme parks aficionados, Tigris is sure to provide plenty of thrills.

The History of Roller Coasters

Roller coasters have been delighting and terrifying people since the early 19th century, when an amusement park in Paris first featured wheeled carts on a high speed track. They gained popularity in the United States by the late 1800’s, when “gravity railroads” started to appear in places like Coney Island. Today, there are hundreds of roller coasters around the world. A ride at Six Flags Great Adventure holds the record for world’s tallest steel roller coaster at 456 feet, while a roller coaster in Dubai is the fastest.

From simple tracks to complicated loops, there is probably a roller coaster out there for everyone. But are they safe?

Injuries and Fatalities on Roller Coasters

With fast speeds, jerky turns, and sudden drops, roller coasters might seem like a recipe for disaster. But according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the chances of being injured are one in 24 million. The chances of death are even smaller at one in 750 million. Like other amusement park riders, roller coasters are usually well maintained and frequently inspected. Big theme parks like Busch Gardens take precautions to keep their guests safe, like shutting down rides if safety concerns are reported.

However, accidents and injuries do sometimes occur. On roller coasters and similar theme park rides, some of the most common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Broken bones and lacerations
  • Health emergencies, like heart attacks or strokes

Injuries sometimes occur when a rider does not follow the rules of the rollercoaster. For example, someone could break a bone if they attempt to stand up on a ride. Other times, injuries occur from negligent or reckless safety measures, like an operator who fails to check if seatbelts are secure. Mechanical issues or equipment failure can also be a cause.

Liability for a roller coaster injury depends on the cause of the incident. If a case where a rider is misbehaving on the rider, they will likely be liable for their own injuries. But on the other hand, if negligence leads to an injury or fatality, the theme parks, ride manufacturers, or individual employees might be responsible for the accident.

Tips for a Safe Ride

For thrill seekers and reluctant riders alike, safety is important on roller coasters. While some of the responsibility falls on the theme park, there are still plenty of steps you can take to stay safe.

  • Stay seated at all times throughout the ride
  • Wear a seatbelt, and make sure it is properly and securely fastened. If there is an issue with how the seatbelt fits, ask the ride operator for help
  • Leave belongings, like keys and cell phones, with someone who is not going on the ride
  • Follow any height or health restrictions
  • Talk to your doctor before your theme park visit if you have any concerns
  • Report any issues with the roller coaster, and do not ride if you do not feel safe

Keep these tips in mind and know your rights, and you’ll be ready for Tigris when it comes roaring into Busch Gardens!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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