One Missouri location seeking innovation to curb rising zipline injuries

2 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, October 19 2016 Oct 19, 2016 Wednesday, October 19, 2016 8:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2016 in Sports
By: Tyler Murry, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter
loading

NEW FLORENCE - The sport and adventure of ziplining is taking off and soaring across the country and in mid-Missouri at Eco Zipline Tours.

"The first few times you get this little flip in your stomach. You get used to it after awhile, but when you jump off, and you are pretty high in the air, it's pretty neat," Rob Riffle said, who zip lined at Eco Zipline Tours.

The number of ziplines skyrocketed from 10 in 2001 to over 200 today. In addition, there was a 30 percent increase in the number of zip lines from 2015 to 2016. 

However, injuries are also on the rise.

Owner of Eco Zipline Tours Mike Seper said, "Ziplining is a lot of fun, so the industry is growing very quickly, and the people that are operating these are inexperienced. So, with that, comes the risk that somebody would get hurt, which is a bad reflection on the industry as a whole."

There was a 56-percent rise in emergency room visits between 2009 and 2012 due to zipline accidents.

A study by Tracy Mehan with the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found 16,850 people have gone to the emergency room since 1997 due to injuries from zip lines.

Seper and Eco Zipline Tours decided to help change that.

"With our safety procedures that we do out here, we have a built in break system that I designed. They never have to reach up onto the line. All the breaking system is built into the pulley, so they just pull down on a strap to be able to slow down."

The design features a metal attachment with two rope-like pieces for the rider to hold. The green line is what the rider holds on with while riding. The blue line is what the rider pulls down on to activate the pulley-like system in the metal device to create friction with the device and line. This allows the rider to come to a gradual stop.

"We want to keep everyone safe, and that is what our breaking procedure is all about," Seper said.

Riffle said, "It's nicer to be in control. I know the one I did in Oregon, it was real loud. You snapped into it, and it was real loud. It kind of jarred you, and this was all smooth."

Other zip line courses across the country use different methods. Some courses have riders where a glove that they use as a friction mechanism to grab onto the line to slow them down while others use a spring or stop at the end of the line to stop the rider. Seper says this results in a jerking of the rider leading to whiplash effects and other risks of injuries.

"Other places you have to reach up with the zipline cable with a glove break, and that is what slows you down. That is not a safe procedure, because you are grabbing up by a moving mechanism."

Another rider at Eco Zipline Tours said he noticed he felt safer during the experience.

"I was one of the biggest guys on the group, and it definitely slowed me down," James Stewart said. "The course was awesome. We had a good group. The guides were good. We had a great time."

In addition to not having riders have their hands near the zipline or crashing into a stopping block or spring, Seper plans to use virtual reality to help keep riders safe.

"With this new virtual reality aspect is a neat aspect that they can go home and share their experience with everybody in full 360, but it's also a way to keep everybody safe," Seper said.

Just like an official can do in football, Seper and his staff can use the footage from the virtual reality cameras to see in a full, 360-degree view what went wrong if an accident were to occur.

Seper says he plans to have the virtual reality cameras added to all the lines next year in hopes of making each zip that much safer.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - The 22-year-old man arrested for his involvement in a homicide over the weekend is currently enrolled in... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:26:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA -  Columbia Water and Light line workers are getting raises after the Columbia City Council voted to raise wages... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:40:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A fire significantly damaged a mobile home in northern Boone County around the Pinnacles area. It... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:46:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Daniel Boone Regional Library was evacuated due to a bomb threat on Tuesday, according to the Columbia... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 11:35:00 AM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday members of landowner alliances and other agricultural organizations throughout the state will rally together in support... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 2:32:00 AM CDT April 16, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Gaelle Fournier, a current MU student from France, said she is devastated by the destruction of the fire... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 11:13:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City corrections officer is facing criticism for a Facebook post. The officer posted a... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 11:00:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate's education committee has started debate on letting public schools hold classes on the Bible and... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 11:00:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
GASCONADE- Authorities are trying to identify human remains found inside a barrel on the Gasconade River.  According to a... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 10:24:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – After years of criticism over racial disparities in traffic stop data, the Columbia Police Department is putting together... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 9:15:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Brian Garner claims to be Mizzou football’s biggest fan, and to prove it, he's got a decade's worth... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 8:43:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri lawmaker wants to tackle access to care for mental health patients. Rep. Jim Neely,... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 7:26:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Officials on both sides are debating a bill that puts education at odds with tourism Monday night.... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 6:45:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - There are still no answers about who killed Melissa Peskey, the Sioux Falls mother who was driving... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 6:24:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council voted for raises for lineworkers at Monday night's meeting. Each journeyman lineworker would... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 6:13:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
FULTON - What was once a vacant gas station is now the home of the new Fulton Soup Kitchen. ... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 6:01:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The person who will oversee how voting districts are mapped would be subject to a string of... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 4:24:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Regional Airport resumed general aviation and passenger service on Monday, following a week-long shutdown. But the question... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 3:38:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
8am 50°
9am 51°
10am 51°
11am 52°