Title:
Amusement ride safety restraint with angle indicator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A safety restraint device with angle indicator is provided for an amusement ride. The safety restraint may include a bar disposed proximate a rider and movably mounted for enabling the device to be moved between a position allowing ingress and egress of a rider and a restraining position toward the rider. An angle indicator is fixed to the bar for displaying an acceptable position of the bar with respect to the rider.



Inventors:
Pribonic, Edward M. (Seal Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/075452
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
03/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FULTON, CHRISTOPHER W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Walter, Hackler Ph Patent Law Office A. D. (SUITE B, 2372 S.E. BRISTOL STREET, NEWPORT BEACH, CA, 92660-0755, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A safety device with angle indicator for an amusement ride, ski lift, transport system, or the like, for carrying a rider, the device comprising: a restraint disposed proximate to said rider and movably mounted enabling said restraint to be disposed between a position allowing ingress and egress by said rider and a restraining position toward said rider; and an angle indicator fixed to the restraint displaying an acceptable position of the restraint with respect to said rider.

2. The device according to claim 1 wherein said angle indicator includes a housing with a viewing window therein and a pendulum rotatably mounted within the housing and having indicia thereon observable through said viewing window.

3. The device according to claim 2 wherein said pendulum includes a weighted cylinder and a shaft for rotatably supporting said weighted cylinder.

4. The device according to claim 3 wherein said indicia comprises at least two colors disposed on a circumference of the cylinder.

5. The device according to claim 4 wherein said weighted cylinder includes spaced apart internal arcuate members for receiving said shaft along an axis of rotation of said weighted cylinder and supporting a weight at a spaced apart distance from said axis of rotation within the cylinder.

6. The device according to claim 5 further comprising a base fixed to said housing and mounting said housing to said restraint.

7. A safety device with angle indicator for an amusement ride, ski lift, transport system, or the like, having at least one seat for carrying a rider, the restraint comprising: a restraint disposed proximate said seat and movably mounted enabling said bar to be disposed between a position allowing seat ingress and egress by said rider and a restraining position toward said seat and said rider; an angle indicator fixed to said restraint displaying an acceptable position of said restraint with respect to said seat and said rider.; and means for fixing said angle indicator to said restraint.

8. The device according to claim 7 wherein said angle indicator includes a housing with a viewing window therein and a pendulum rotatably mounted within the housing and having indicia thereon positioned for observation through said viewing window.

9. The device according to claim 8 wherein said pendulum includes a weighted cylinder and a shaft rotatably supporting said weighted cylinder.

10. The device according to claim 9 wherein said indicia comprises at least two colors disposed on a circumference of the cylinder.

11. The device according to claim 10 wherein said weighted cylinder includes spaced apart internal arcuate members receiving said shaft along an axis of rotation of said weighted cylinder and supporting a weight at a spaced apart distance from said axis of rotation within the cylinder.

12. The device according to claim 11 wherein said means fixing said angle indicator to said restraint comprises a base fixed to said angle indicator.

13. A safety device for an amusement ride, ski lift, transport system, or the like, for carrying a rider, and having a movable restraint, the device comprising: an angle indicator fixed to the restraint and displaying an acceptable position of the restraint with respect to said rider.

14. The device according to claim 13 wherein said angle indicator indicates a housing with a viewing window therein and a pendulum rotatably mounting within the housing and having indicia therein observable therein said viewing window.

15. The device according to claim 14 wherein said pendulum includes a weighted cylinder and a shaft for rotatably support said weighted cylinder.

16. The device according to claim 15 wherein said indicia comprises at least two colors disposed on a surface of the cylinder.

17. The device according to claim 16 wherein said weighted cylinder includes spaced apart internal arcuate members for receiving the shaft along an axis of rotation of said weighted cylinder and supporting a weight at a spaced apart distance from said axis of rotation within the cylinder.

18. The device according to claim 17 further comprises a base fixed to said housing and mounting said housing to said restraint.

Description:

The present invention is generally directed to amusement park rides, ski lifts, transport systems, and the like, for riders and is more particularly directed to restraints for safely positioning riders.

Amusement and theme parks have become increasingly popular and almost always include ride attractions which typically include coaster type cars, rail cars, automobile type cars, along with water vehicles.

On such amusement rides, a means of passenger restraint is provided to contain a seated, standing, or prone rider. With seated rides, these restraints often take the form of a bar place against the torso or thighs of the rider(s). They may be called “lap bars”, “T-bars”, and the like. The effectiveness of such restraints is limited by a number of factors, the principal being the ability to place the bar at a position in close enough proximity to the rear and bottom of the passenger seat to prevent the rider from being ejected past the bar restraint by ride induced forces. Injuries may occur on roller coasters because of this situation.

It is common that the functionality of such restraint bars provides the ability to be pulled toward the rider to any relative position, but is restricted from being pushed in the opposite direction until the bar is unlocked by operating personnel. Failure to secure the bar in a position close enough to the rider and the seat may create a situation whereby the rider's body can move past the bar, and thus not be restrained. This is particularly true for riders that are overweight for their height, and for particularly short and/or thin individuals.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to the safety of the riders that the restraint bars are placed in a position determined to represent the minimum safe operating position.

Prior to the present invention, restraint bars were positioned either by riders or ride attendants. When riders were permitted the option to position the restraint bars, they were placed at any position determined to be comfortable or acceptable to the rider.

When ride attendants positioned the restraint bars, the position was based on some subjective position determined by the ride manufacturer or the owner/operator. It was then incumbent upon the ride attendants to interpret the position considering such directions at “sung”, “firmly”, or “check the position of the lap bars”.

Some attempted remedies to the deficiencies of positioning the restraint bars have been to paint stripes or position indicating marks on the bars or nearby structures, attached latching belts to each bar to assure a connection at some minimum position and using hand held measuring devices.

Conventional inclinometers normally display a large range of inclination, and are inaccurate if inclined on a plane normal to that of the plane being measured. Bubble type inclinometers and rolling ball inclinometers commonly experience a “sticking” due to inertia, and may not immediately indicate movement or indicate a small range of movement.

It is disadvantageous in restraint bar application for an inclinometer to display a range of positions. There is only one limit of acceptable positioning for the restraint bar to be effective and therefore, the inclination device should display only two statements: 1) acceptable position, or 2) unacceptable position.

The use of the present invention permits a very specific and limited position of the restraint bar to be placed without any subjective evaluation by the rider or ride attendant. When the correct position is achieved, the viewing window displays the appropriate color or statement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A safety device with angle indicator for an amusement ride, ski lift, transport system, or the like, having at least one seat for carrying a rider, in accordance with the present invention, generally includes a restraint disposed proximate the rider and movably mounted for enabling the restraint to be disposed between a position allowing ingress and egress by the rider and a restraining position toward the rider.

An angle indicator is fixed to the restraint for displaying an acceptable position of the bar with respect to the rider.

More particularly, the angle indicator in accordance with the present invention generally includes a housing with a viewing window therein and a pendulum rotatably mounted within the housing and having indicia thereon positioned for observation through the viewing window.

Preferably, the pendulum is a weighted cylinder. A shaft is provided for rotatably supporting the weighted cylinder within the tubular housing.

In addition, it is preferable that the indicia include at least two colors disposed on a circumference of the cylinder. Preferably, the colors indicate only two statements, namely an acceptable position of the bar and an unacceptable position of the restraint.

More particularly, the weighted cylinder may include spaced apart internal arcuate members for receiving the shaft along an axis of rotation of the weighted cylinder. Further, arcuate members support a weight at a spaced apart distance from the axis of rotation within the cylinder. This arrangement provides for the weighted cylinder. In addition, a based fixed to the housing may be provided for mounting the housing to the restraint.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The advantages and features of the present invention will be better understood with the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a safety device in accordance with the present invention generally including an angle indicator affixed thereto, an indicator housing with a observation window therein, along with a base mounting the indicator to a restraint bar;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the indicator shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the indicator shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrating a housing with a pendulum disposed therein with a cylinder having indicia thereon;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the indicator taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view showing the indicator at an angle wherein the indicia is viewed through a viewing window indicating an acceptable position; and

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 wherein the indicator may be at an unacceptable position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a safety device 10 in accordance with the present invention generally including a restraint, which may be, for example, a bar 12 supporting a cross bar 16 and cushion 18 for an amusement ride car 22 having at least one seat 24 carrying a rider 26.

While a seat 24 is shown it should be appreciated that the device 10 may be utilized for vehicles transporting riders in standing or prone positions.

Shown as a specific example, the bar 12 is disposed proximate the seat 24 and includes a conventional pivot mechanism 30, preferably disposed below a floor 34 of the car 22 which enables movement of the bar between a position shown in FIG. 2 allowing seat ingress and egress by the rider and a restraining position, shown in FIG. 1, toward the seat 24 and rider 26.

In accordance with the present invention, an angle indicator 38 is provided and fixed to the bar 12 by, for example, screws 42 for displaying an acceptable position of the bar 12 with respect to the seat 24 and rider 26, as shown, in FIG. 1, by a color observable through a viewing window 46.

With reference to FIGS. 3-6, the exampled embodiment of angle indicator 38 includes a housing 50, which may be tubular, with the viewing window 46 formed therein, the housing 50 being formed from any suitable material such as, for example, metal or plastic.

The housing 50 may be attached to a base 54 in a suitable manner, such as, for example, by welding with a flat spot 56 on the housing 50 facilitating such attachment. Holes 60, in the base 54 enable screw, or rivet 42, mounting of the angle indicator 38 to the bar 12, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. Accordingly, the base provides a means for fixing the angle indicator 38 to the bar 12, and may be configured as necessary to mate to various styles of restraint devices.

A pendulum 64 is rotatably mounted in the housing 50 and includes indicia, as indicated at 68, is positioned for observation through the viewing window 46. Preferably, at least two colors are utilized indicating acceptable or non-acceptable positioning of the bar 12, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

As more clearly shown in FIGS. 3-6, the pendulum 64 includes a weighted cylinder 72 and a shaft 76 supported by bearings 78, see FIG. 4, rotatably supporting the weighted cylinder 72. Arcuate members 82 disposed within the weighted cylinder 72 include bores 84 for receiving the shaft 76 along an axis of rotation 90, see FIG. 4.

A second bore 94 is provided for supporting a weight 96 at a spaced apart distance from the axis of rotation 90.

End plates 98, 100 fitted within the tubular housing 50 for supporting the bearings 76 and weighted cylinder 72 within the housing 50.

Assembly of the indicator 38 along with the bar may be done by conventional assembly methods depending, of course, on the materials of construction.

The size of the weight 96 and spacing from the axis of rotation 90 and are selected to obtain a desired response, sensitivity, or starting inertia of the pendulum 64.

Although there has been hereinabove described a specific amusement ride safety restraint with angle indicator in accordance with the present invention for the purpose of illustrating the manner in which the invention may be used to advantage, it should be appreciated that the invention is not limited thereto. That is, the present invention may suitably comprise, consist of, or consist essentially of the recited elements. Further, the invention illustratively disclosed herein suitably may be practiced in the absence of any element which is not specifically disclosed herein. Accordingly, any and all modifications, variations or equivalent arrangements which may occur to those skilled in the art, should be considered to be within the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims.