Pre-season checkup: inspectors testing rides at Cedar Point

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SANDUSKY, Ohio - Before Cedar Point opens on May 6th, state ride inspectors are checking each of the park's 70 rides to make sure they're safe to operate.

Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture have been at the park for the past three weeks, checking the rides from the ground up. It's part of annual pre-season inspection.

Tuesday, those inspectors showed media how they check everything including the ride's foundation, bolts, passenger trains and seat belts. Dummies filled with water to mimic the weight of passengers filled seats on the Gatekeeper roller coaster.

"We want everybody that shows up here to have a great time. We want to make sure the rides that are here are safe," said David Daniels, Director of Agriculture for the State of Ohio. "Riders have responsibilities too. They need to make sure they're doing what it says. If it says keep your hands in, keep your hands in."

Ohio has eight ride inspectors who are responsible for 3,762 licensed rides in the state. Daniels said the same inspection process applies to fairs and traveling carnivals.

"We are on every fairground in the State of Ohio, inspecting all those small ride companies and the street fairs, street carnivals, as well," he said.

At Cedar Point, state inspectors return for a mid-season inspection and also perform operational inspections in plain clothes to ensure ride operators are following proper protocol. Cedar Point staff also completes daily ride inspections.

Inspector Ron Dean said the goal of the inspections is to make sure rides are compliant. He said it's rare to find issues during preseason checks at Cedar Point.

"This stuff is like a brand new car rolling off the showroom floor, so there isn't a lot that we find," he said.

However, the inspection doesn't mean rides won't break. In August, two people suffered minor injuries after a launch cable detached from the Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster.

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