Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture

Dept. of Agriculture
Overview of Amusement Ride Regulation
Regulation Type: 
Government officials audit/spot check private-sector inspectors
Inspection Program: 

Rides are inspected monthly or at every setup by state certified 3rd party inspectors hired by the ride owner. State officials perform unannounced spot checks on a frequent and random schedule.

Investigative Authority: 

Accidents are investigated by state quality assurance inspectors.

Reporting Criteria: 

When a serious injury, death, or fire occurs as a result of operation of an amusement ride or attraction, the operator shall notify the department within a reasonable period of time. Serious injury is defined as permanent or prolonged impairment of the body in which any part of the body is made functionally useless or substantially reduced in efficiency.

In addition, operators must submit to the state copies of any other ride-related injury reports sent to the operator's insurance company.

Patron Responsibility Law: 

"Rider" - A person 14 years of age or older utilitizing an amusement ride. The term includes any person who is an invitee, whether or not the person pays consideration.

a) Responsibilities - A rider is responsible for obeying the posted rules or oral instructions of amusement rides and shall abide by the following:
(1) A rider may not board or dismount from an amusement ride except at the designated area if one is provided.
(2) A rider may not throw or expel any object or matter from an amusement ride.
(3) A rider may not act in any manner contrary to posted and oral rules while boarding, riding, or dismounting from any amusement ride.
(4) A rider may not engage in any reckless act or activity which may tend to injure himself or others.
(5) While using amusement rides that require steering or control of his speed and course at all times. A rider shall not steer the ride in such a manner as to intentionally harm another person.
(6) A rider may not disconnect, disable or attempt to disconnect or disable any safety device, seat belt, harness or other restraining device before, during or after movement of the ride has started except at the express instruction of the operator.
(7) A rider may not disembark or attempt to disembark from any amusement ride before, during or after movement of a ride has started except upon the express instruction of the operator.
(8) A rider may not board or attempt to board any amusement ride if he is under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance ... which impacts his ability to safely use the ride and abide by the posted and oral instructions.
(9) A rider may not alter or enhance the intended speed, course, or direction of a ride by using any unauthorized device, instrument, or method.
(10) A rider 14 years of age or older embarking on a ride after failing to pay appropriate consideration for its use, when required by amusement park rules and regulations, shall be considered to be a trespasser.
(11) A rider shall not attempt to gain access to controls of an amusement ride designed solely to be operated by employees of amusement parks.
(b) Exceptions - Subsection (a) shall not apply to an individual who because of deafness, blindness, mental limitation or a language barrier is not capable of understanding the posted rules or oral instructions.

Date of last update: 
September 16, 2008