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Public vs. Private Memo - Amusement Ride Safety Inspection

The following memorandum will attempt to clarify the Safety Inspection Unit's position on this subject and provide clear direction to amusement ride owners for future operations.

The stated intent of the law is to "ensure, as far as possible, the safety of the public in the use of amusement attractions at carnivals, fairs and amusement parks". The common legal definition of "public" is "open to all" or not restricted to a particular class or group of society at large.

A fair reading and interpretation of the law would restrict inspections to events which are open to all. Community related events or events that are accessible or shared by members of the community would be a public event. Events that are held on public property would be considered a public event.

Private events are usually events where persons attending are invited by invitation, and they are normally held on private property. The "public" cannot walk in as an uninvited guest. Amusements attractions operating at private events do not fall under the Amusement Ride Safety Law.

Paying money to participate or use an amusement attraction, in and of itself, has no bearing on weather the event is public or private and therefore covered by the Amusement Ride Safety Law.

For additional information, contact:
Division of Labor and Industry
Amusement Ride Safety Inspection

10946 Golden West Drive, Suite 160
Hunt Valley, MD 21031.
Fax: 410-333-7683

Report Amusement Ride related accidents, injuries, unsafe conditions, questions or concerns 24/7 to
Emergency telephone number: 410-767-2638