Fears over new bumper car ban

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SCARBOROUGH thrill seekers could be set for life in the slow lane after a ban on a theme park favourite.

Bosses at national holidaymaker giant Butlin’s have slapped a non-contact order on bumper car rides after increased fears over health and safety.

The crashing blow has brought worries that similar attractions in Scarborough may be forced to follow suit, stopping the electric cars from deliberate contact by making drivers navigate around each other in circles.

Malcolm Stephenson, who ran Marvels amusement park in the North Bay, said he feared the legislation would take away the fun from fairgrounds.

He said: “It’s just sad really and seems very onerous to me.

“They seem to be taking the fun out of everything now.

“The bumper cars have seat belts in them, fair enough you can get a nasty bump but its like everything else.

“It seems unrealistic to me to stop people bumping into each other.

“There is risk in everything in life but there and so many rules and regulations now, it is becoming a total nanny state.”

Olympia Leisure, in Foreshore Road, has go-karts upon riders must follow the same premise.

However, Tony Greenham, area manager for the company, said an outright ban would be extremely difficult to enforce.

He added: “It would be pretty impossible to police something like that.

“Putting up a sign that tells people not to do it is good enough.”

Bumper cars were a favourite pastime of thousands of holidaymakers at the former Butlins park near Filey.

However, the company have barred fun seekers deliberately banging their cars into each other at resorts in Minehead, Bognor Regis and Skegness.

The decision comes after a rise in the number of fairgrounds displaying ‘no bumping’ signs, though few have taken the extra step of outright bans.

A Butlin’s spokesman said: “Like most operators of dodgems we decided that a ‘no deliberate bumping’ policy means that everyone can enjoy a fun experience in a safe environment.

“This is not a response to legislation but ensures that all families enjoy their time at our resorts.

“The point of our dodgems is to dodge people, not to run into people.”

Bumper cars were introduced to Britain by Billy Butlin in 1923 when he bought the UK franchise for American-made Dodgem Cars and used them at his funfairs.

They have been a firm favourite with holidaymakers at Butlin’s camps after its first park opened in Skegness in 1936.