Interview: How do theme parks keep roller-coaster-riding idiots alive?

Sandusky, Ohio’s Cedar Point is generally recognized as one of the country’s—if not the world’s—best amusement parks, and for good reason. While it doesn’t have the Imagineering flash of Walt Disney World, it’s got 17 roller coasters—the second most in the country—including the Millennium Force, a 310-foot-tall, 93-mph behemoth that Amusement Today calls the best steel coaster in the world.

With a little over 3.5 million people funneling through Cedar Point’s 71 rides every year, who’s in charge of keeping riders safe? (Three hundred seventy-five million people attend parks in North America every year, and the percentage of people who are injured on rides is relatively low. In 2011, for instance, 1,204 people were injured on rides.) What kind of training do those occasionally blank-eyed teenagers on the ride platforms receive, and what safeguards are in place …

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