Every couple of years, during the off-season for most amusement parks, I remember the Great Prediction of the Death of Roller Coasters in California of 2005.  (I should probably come up with a better name than that.)

Back in 2005, not long after I started teaching, the California Supreme Court ruled that roller coasters are common carriers.  (I posted about the lower court’s ruling here; I posted a teeny bit about the Supreme Court’s ruling here; Tony Sebok disagreed here, I think focusing more on policy than was justified given the plain language of the statute.)  As I have said, I doubt I would write a common carrier statute to intentionally encompass amusement park rides, but a legislature could quite certainly choose to do so.

Anyway, what makes me return to the case every so often is to check in on the predictions of doom from the industry:

“It puts roller coasters out of business.” – John Robinson, California Attractions and Parks Association

As is my habit in this occasional ritual, I used RCDB‘s excellent advanced search to see what new coasters have opened since 2005.  It looks like eleven new coasters have opened, with two new coasters (one major, one kiddie) under construction at Six Flags Magic Mountain right now.  That is a bit fewer than the five years prior, but those five prior years also included the opening of Gilroy Gardens and Disney’s California Adventure (and didn’t include an economic meltdown).

For the same reasons I mentioned back in 2005, it was a silly statement then, and remains a silly statement now.