WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — Summertime means Kennywood is open, but one man was recently told that some rides may not be open to all.
Three years ago, Jeff Logan lost his lower right leg to infection, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing all the activities he enjoyed before doctors amputated the limb.
“I ride a motorcycle. I jet ski. I still boat. I like to hike,” he said.
Logan also loves thrill rides, but two weeks ago at a season pass holder invite-only day at Kennywood, he was stopped at the gate and told that under a new policy, a half dozen rides — including Black Widow, Exterminator and Arrow 360 — were off limits to him and other amputees.
“It hurt, to be honest with you. It just made me feel like, you know… We pride ourselves on working with each other and saying we can do anything we put our mind to, that we can accomplish it if we can, and then when someone tells you can’t do that, it’s psychologically devastating to you,” Logan said.
Parks around the country are reviewing their policies after a woman with a double amputation was thrown or fell from a Las Vegas roller coaster in March. The woman survived and the incident remains under investigation. Nearly eight years ago, an Iraq War double amputee died when he was thrown out of a ride at Darien Lakes Park outside of Buffalo.
Kennywood says it continually reviews such incidents to adopt best practices, and while ejections are an issue, Kennywood’s policy change this year revolved around an additional concern about loose prosthetics flying off the rides and becoming projectiles.
After Logan registered a complaint and stressed safe alternatives, park spokesperson Nick Paradise says Kennywood has now lifted the amputee ban on these rides.
“So it was a bit of learning experience in some ways to have that dialogue with Mr. Logan and, in reviewing everything, [we were] able to arrive at a policy that we think will do the best job of making as many rides as accessible to as many people, while also ensuring the safety of those riders and everyone else in the park,” Paradise said.
Kennywood will now allow amputees on those formerly restricted rides but will require them to remove their prosthetics beforehand. Logan is OK with the new policy and has accepted Kennywood’s invitation to work with the park in dialogue to help the policy evolve.
“With a little education on their behalf and a little understanding on our behalf, some cooperation between the two that yes, it continue to be what it’s been, not just for myself but for everybody who suffers from this,” Logan said.