Local News

State Inspects Rides Before Passengers Climb Aboard

Posted October 1, 1998

— When the weather starts getting chilly, all those fun Fall festivals kick into high gear. The biggest attraction is usually the State Fair's Midway.

But as people learned at a fair last weekend in Sanford, those rides can be dangerous.

Seven people were injuried in Sanford when a ride called the Spider lost an arm and dropped people to the pavement.

Friday afternoon, theDepartment of Laborsaid it had put a stop order on all Spider rides until they can go through a test for metal fatigue. There are about six of those rides in the state.

Rides are always popular, but before anyone can ride, by state law, the rides must be carefully inspected.

Twenty-eight Department of Labor inspectors examine about 7,000 rides a year across the state. Safety is the goal.

"In certain cases, they may do an even more thorough examination than normal if there is concern with regard to that particular piece of equipment," explained Greg Cook of the Department of Labor.

Inspectors work to prevent accidents like the one in Sanford.

The rides inspected Friday afternoon at a Wake County carnival are operated by Poyphress Amusements in Wilson. Poyphress welcomes the inspections.

"We go out there. We do the job, and it's always better to have extra eyes, another set of eyes. That's how I look at it," said Gloria Poyphress.

Many children will have fun riding the machines, and most parents are reassured by the inspections.

"They are really picky about it," said Teresa Miller, a parent. "This carnival has been here for a long time. It's an annual thing. I feel really comfortable with it."

The State has inspected rides for 35 years. The Lee County accident was the first in which the problem has been caused by the ride itself.

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