Every year both adults and children are injured on rides in amusement parks and are looking for compensation for those injuries. Most people assume that an amusement park is responsible for whatever injuries would take place on their rides. However, in Pennsylvania it is not such a straightforward process. The Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Amusement Rider Safety and Liability Act, 4 P.S. § 501-507, which places many duties and responsibilities on the riders of the amusement ride, to also be responsible for their own safety.
Among other Sections of the Act, a rider may not board or dismount for an amusement ride, except in a designated area. A rider may not act in any manner contrary to posted and oral rules while boarding, riding or dismounting. Further, a rider may not engage in any reckless act or activity, which may intend to injure himself or others. A sole rider may not disembark or attempt to disembark from any amusement ride before, during or after movement of a ride has started. There are a variety of other things riders are prohibited to do, including being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, trying to enhance the intended speed or course of direction for the ride, and other such prohibitions.
Violation of any of these rider responsibilities under the Amusement Rider Safety and Liability Act can prevent an injured rider from receiving compensation for their injuries. Section 504 of the Act states in essence that if there is proof that a rider sustained an injury in the course of knowing acting contrary to any of the prohibitions listed within the Act such actions shall be evidence of comparative negligence in a suit against the operator of that ride.
Therefore, under Pennsylvania Law, though it is not an Assumption of the Risk for individuals riding on amusement rides, and certainly injured persons can still recover for damages due to some sort of malfunction or other defect of the ride, it is important to know that riders are also responsible for their own conduct and can and will be held contributorily negligent if they engage in any action deemed to be improper under the Act, and could face a situation of no monetary recovery for injuries suffered on a particular ride.