Zip lining appears to offer an exhilarating experience in a relatively safe environment. But recent research in a report by Outside Magazine shines a light on the dangers inherent in the experience.
As zip lining opportunities ramp up around the states and the world, it's important to be aware of how safe it is.
"A 2015 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that the number of zip line injuries in the United States has increased from a few hundred per year in the late 1990s to more than 3,600 in 2012," reports Brendan Borrell.
Reports of deaths on a zip line are minimal in the U.S. but still significant.
"There is no central repository of fatalities, but more than a dozen news reports describe people dying on zip lines in the United States since 2006," says Borrell.
However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't zip line. It just sheds new light on the dangers and puts the experience on par with riskier sports such as whitewater rafting and rock climbing.
Improved safety measures and regular inspections could improve these risks.
"Right now, it's kind of a patchwork of regulation that varies from state to state," Shawn Tierney, executive director of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), one of three industry organizations that publishes voluntary standards, tells Outside.
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"Most zip line regulations come from amusement rides, and that doesn't quite fit," he adds.
Currently, ACCT is working to create uniform standards for zip line operations and these regulations are being incorporated into law in many states.
For more on the safety of zip lines and guidance on choosing your course, read on here.
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