Can roller coasters hurt birds? On rare occasions, yes, as a boy at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey discovered recently. According to the Ashbury Park Press, 12-year-old Shane Matus was hit by a rock pigeon while riding Kingda Ka last month, a collision that killed the bird and gave Shane bruises and other minor injuries.
Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the world and one of the fastest, reaching a height of 456 feet and a top speed of 128 miles per hour. When the collision occurred, the train was returning to the station and no longer at top speed, or Shane's injuries could have been more severe.
Roller coaster riders can minimize the risk of hitting a bird if they avoid sitting in the front seat and try not to ride during early morning or late evening when birds may be more active. These types of accidents are very rare, however, and not always preventable if nearby birds are startled as the coaster passes.
Have you ever been hit by a bird, whether or not you're on a roller coaster? Share your experience in the comments!
Photo © Jeremy Thompson