Rye Playland opens for season with emphasis on safety

Rye Playland opened its season Saturday and officials say safety is a top priority at the park.

The county-owned park has made many changes to ensure the safety of its patrons. However, the safety of the park has come into question time and time again. Since 2004, three people have been killed while on rides in the amusement park.

In response to the accidents, park officials say the county has removed two rides, including the Mind Scrambler, which was involved in two of the deaths. They have also imposed a buddy system and posted new safety signs throughout the park. Park officials say two independent safety consultants have given good reports and suggested minor changes, which they instituted.

In 2007, a New York Post investigation accused the park of "blatantly ignoring policies and skipping basic safety checks." Those findings mirrored a 2004 safety audit after the death of 7-year-old Stephanie Dieudonne that found numerous problems including management operational issues.

Despite all that, hundreds of families swarmed the park for opening day. Everyone who entered the park received a pamphlet outlining safety rules and policies. Park officials say ultimately their number one motto is "when in doubt, ask or don't ride."

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