CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Every amusement park ride in Ohio, whether it's permanent or temporary, is inspected by the state at least twice a year.
Cleveland 19 obtained 2016 ride inspection reports for Cedar Point and Splash City. Each ride is inspected at the beginning of the season in order to get a yearly permit, and then inspected at least once, possibly more, during the season.
According to the state Department of Agriculture, Ohio law requires the rides to be inspected each year. Each inspector fills out a form that looks at things like if the ride shows any signs of excessive wear or if pieces, like bolts, are missing.
The types of violations that a ride can get range in severity. With the approximately 100 Cedar Point and Splash City inspections, about a quarter of the reports found things that needed to be fixed, but none of the rides had major issues in their preliminary May 2016 reports.
"We work closely with the operators [at Cedar Point] to ensure that those rides are ready to go," said Brett Gates, the deputy communications director for the State Department of Agriculture. "We spend a good amount of time before the season opens to make sure they're ready to go, going through our inspection process and to make sure they're doing everything that they do on a daily basis to make sure that those rides are ready to go for folks coming to the park."
The violations ranged from repairing a broken window to more severe things like repairing worn fiberglass on a water slide. That last violation needed to be fixed before the department will give the ride a permit for the year.
One ride, Top Thrill Dragster, did have a problem in August 2016, after getting a relatively clean bill of health in a May inspection report. Cleveland 19 asked Gates if riders should be concerned that inspections can't catch every potential problem.
"From our standpoint, we're working to make sure that we can do all we can to make sure that these rides are as safe as possible. The ride operators themselves are doing everything they can to make sure these rides are as safe as possible, at the same time it is mechanical equipment so things can arise, but there are systems in place to make sure that they fail to save."
Every amusement park is supposed to do daily checks of their own on their rides. Gates said that the Department of Agriculture checks records to make sure that those daily inspections are happening.
There are also things the consumer can do too, like follow posted rules about things like height and health conditions. The consumer can also ask each ride operator if he or she is trained on that ride.
Cleveland 19 is headed to Cedar Point on Tuesday to see he ride inspection process in action – what do you want to know about how it works and what rides are you most interested in seeing the inspections for?