Carnival ride inspectors are out across Illinois

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SPRINGFIELD – Look for the green inspection permit on Illinois amusement park rides to make sure they’re ready to ride.

Illinois has a rigorous inspection and permit process, said Paul Cincchini, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Labor’s Amusement Ride and Attraction Safely Board.

“We have a group of highly trained and highly experienced ride inspectors who work throughout the year,” Cincchini said.

At a street fair in the northern Illinois village of Antioch on Sunday, July 16, a 10-year-old boy was thrown from the Moby Dick ride and was seriously injured. The Moby Dick ride requires riders to be fastened into cars. The cars go up and down as the speed of the ride accelerates.

On July 20th, as part of the post-accident investigation, Illinois seized the Moby Dick ride that was involved in the Antioch accident.

The many components of a ride that require inspection include tracks and rails, structural steel, bolts, fasteners and connectors, axles, pivots, lap bar parts and roller coaster cars, the e-Journal of Nondestructive Testing, says on its website.

The Illinois Department of Labor cannot comment on the Antioch incident or any specific amusement park accident, Cincchini said.

A person who also rode the Moby Dick ride in Antioch on the 16th claimed that the lap bar on the car was not locking down properly when that individual took the ride, NBC’s Today Show reported.

Cincchini said that every ride, even rides at carnivals that travel in from other states, is inspected by state inspectors before it is allowed to operate in Illinois. Proof of inspection is a large green inspection medallion that is required by law to be displayed at each ride site.

Illinois’ Amusement Ride and Attraction Safely Department has an after-hours and weekend phone number at 217 299-5512 where people can call if they see something that makes them suspicious or if they experience unsafe conditions or if they see an accident.

“We encourage people to say something if they see something,” Cicchini said.

Trained adults are required to operate rides. Operators are required to have a manual of operation from the manufacturer for each ride on site. For homemade rides, operators are required to write an operation manual and have it on hand.

Illinois regulates and inspects carnival rides, haunted houses, go kart tracks, trampoline parks and bounce houses. Last year was the first year that the state began inspecting trampoline parks.

Thirty people were injured on Illinois amusement park rides in 2022. The largest number of verified injuries occurred at trampoline parks, Cicchini said. People reported knee, ankle, arm, leg and foot injuries as the result of incorrect landings.