(Dyersburg, TN) It's finally getting warm outside, which means you might be interested in a little outdoor adventure.
If you're planning to ride a zip line, how do you know it's safe?
The On Your Side Investigators got an exclusive look at new rules for riding in Tennessee. Plus, WREG reveals the one thing to watch for to ensure zip line safety.
It's an amazing thrill ride, at least according to those brave enough to go for it.
Zip line parks are popping up all across the country, including the Volunteer State.
"We'll have 25 to sometimes 50 people a day come and ride," said Bob Williams, who runs Bikini Bottoms Park, the home of Big John's Zip line in Dyersburg.
Williams says the ride isn't just for daredevils.
"Lots of older people come and ride it all the time," he said.
His line is one of the longest in North America, and the views are incredible!
Now state regulators are stepping in to ensure your zip line adventure is a smooth one.
Neal Vojtkofsky is a Tennessee Amusement Device Inspector.
He told WREG, "There was a few concerns in the different counties about different locations putting up devices kind of overnight."
"They just wanted to have some, certain regulations, saying are these people even safe to operate," added Vojtkofsky.
Zip line inspectors are the same ones who inspect amusement park and carnival rides.
They let the On Your Side Investigators tag along for an inspection at Big John's, where workers were prepping for the new season.
Vojtkofsky said, "Before we even look at the equipment, we want to make sure they have the appropriate insurance coverage. We want to make sure they have any daily, weekly, or monthly maintenence that they do on it and then a daily inspection sheet."
Industry and manufacturers really set the standards for zip line equipment. Operators are supposed to follow those rules.
State inspectors want to make sure that's happening.
"We adopted their rules and so that's sort of what we base our inspections on," said Vojtkofsky.
Zip lines must be inspected at least once a year by the state.
Plus, Vojtkofsky said, "The state requires that there's a third party inspection whether it be another government agency or insurance company, and you can guarantee it's been looked at at least twice."
If you go to a park, it's important to look for a permit like the one pictured below.
After checking the equipment logs, the inspectors head out to the end of the zip line.
"Really just looking for any excessive markings that might be on the bearing that might indicate there's a bit of give in the bearing."
Then, Vojtkofsky suits up to take the ride himself.
"When I ride, I'm looking for more, how they attach you, do they follow protocol when speaking about their safety procedures?"
He says these are safety procedures every rider should pay close attention to.
"If you go somewhere and they just kind of throw something on you and kind of walk you out, you might want to be a little hesitant," said Vojtkofsky.
There was no hesitation at Big John's. Inspectors had a safe and smooth ride, and their hope is you get the same.
Vojtkofsky said, "One of the main things is, have you been inspected by the state, it's a yes or no question."
State inspectors can "red tag" and shut down zip lines and amusement park rides if they're deemed unsafe.