It is not known if Devonda Byrd ever filed an amusement park lawsuit over her spinal cord injury. Nonetheless, the resident of Goodlettsville has been left immobilized and depending on a scooter to get around after a zip line accident in Mexico four years ago.
The Tennessean (7/21/12) notes Byrd wasn't even the one riding.
According to the report, Byrd and her husband were vacationing in Mexico when Devonda's partner decided to try a zip line. As Devonda stood atop the platform in an attempt to snap a picture of her adventuresome husband, the man careened into her.
"[The zip line attendants] were supposed to stop him," Byrd told the Tennessean. "But with him being 300 pounds, they just couldn't." While not the most horrific theme park accident, the collision nonetheless sent Devonda careening off the platform and falling 25 feet to the ground. Four years later she can only take steps with the aid of a walker, and relies on a scooter the rest of the time.
"I think they should do away with [zip lines] period," Devonda Byrd said of her amusement park accident. "It’s just too dangerous. I was just an innocent bystander."
Theme park accidents are growing in correlation with the increasing number and availability of theme and amusement parks. Zip lines are growing in popularity. However, while most states have regulations governing theme parks in an effort to avoid accidents and amusement park deaths, there appear to be little oversight thus far for zip lines.
The Tennessean reports that currently in Tennessee zip line operators are expected to follow industry standards and hire third-party inspectors. It has been reported that many operators voluntary adhere to standards set forth by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). However, state regulations such as those adopted by the state of Arkansas are so far the exception, rather than the rule. In Arkansas, zip lines are inspected twice each year; operators must carry sufficient liability insurance and notify the state prior to opening.
Arkansas requires notice of amusement park accidents and requires a zip line to be shut down at the point when a mishap occurs.
The Tennessean reports that the state of Tennessee is prepared to bring in regulations this fall.
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A zip line installation located at Honeysuckle Hill Farm in Springfield reportedly remains closed following an injury to a zip line rider. A woman riding the zip line was halted midway through and became marooned out on the line. When efforts by zip line staff to pull the woman into the platform failed, an attempt was made to lower the woman to the ground.
"In that process a mistake was made," said Jeff Alsup, the owner. "We dropped her. It was human error; it was our fault."
The woman fell about 25 feet to the ground. The extent of the woman's injuries are not known, or if she is contemplating a call to an amusement parks injury lawyer. The incident happened last month.