Brian Hodges, 36, was critically injured while on vacation with friends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While riding on a zip-line at Wild Canyon Adventures, he slammed into a mountain.
The group was on the last of eight zip-lines, reported Bakersfield Now (7.23.14). The line was described as “breathtaking, and dangerous.” Riders could reach 37 mph and the line was approximately half a mile long. On this last line, riders travelled under a bridge with a mountain extremely nearby.
Hodges went down the line, but instead of going straight, his body weight shifted sideways. In this position, he hit the mountain.
Hodges suffered major head and body injuries, including a large hematoma on his head, a fractured neck, trauma to his shoulders and broken ribs.
Zip-lining has become increasingly popular as a recreational activity. Riders wear a harness that is attached to an inclined cable. The cable lines are strung between platforms and riders zip along them, typically travelling at high speeds. These cables can be hundreds of feet off the ground.
If the zip-line equipment is faulty or the operators do not follow proper safety guidelines, the riders can be seriously injured. Common causes of accidents include inadequate training of zip-line operators, cable collapses, poor construction, lack of braking or other safety systems, broken equipment, and failure to follow safety procedures.
Currently, it is up to each state to set its own safety regulations regarding zip-line operation. In New York, stationary amusement park rides must be inspected annually.
If a zip-line injury, or other recreational activity injury, is the result of negligence on the part of the activity operator, the injured rider may be able to receive compensation for his or her injuries. Questions that will be asked include
- Who had control of the ride at the time of the accident?
- Who maintained the equipment and how was it maintained?
- Did the operator install proper safety equipment to prevent injuries?
When riding on a zip-line, safety must be taken seriously. Adults should receive proper instruction and children should be closely supervised. All riders should wear appropriate safety gear which may include helmet, harness, backup lanyards, and knee pads. Before use, all equipment should be inspected for any signs of damage, corrosion, splitting, cracking, stretching or abrasions. Zip-lines should not be used during inclement weather.
The Bakersfield Now story cited is “Zip-line accident leaves Baskersfield man in a coma.”