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Tip For Hiring Dodgems

Updated on June 19, 2020
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We have been providing dodgems for weddings, parties and events for a number of years, specialising in private hire.

Dodgems, The No1 Fun Ride

I am writing this with the presumption that you want to hire a dodgem ride. A really nice dodgem ride. Of course I could be way off mark and you could be looking for a ride that looks like it was at the Chernobyl theme park during the explosion. In which case we would advise you to find a dodgy funfair guy called Vlad.

Proceeding under the idea that you don't want to talk to Vlad I will try and give you some tips on how to make sure the ride you receive bears at least some resemblance to the one you thought you had hired.

Dodgem ride from Vlad, the dodgy dodgem guy

Decide On The Type You Need First

Dodgems are supplied in the UK in 2 type. Traditional and continental.

Traditional Dodgems

These have been around for decades, and come entirely dismantled on a couple of vehicles usually. The disadvantages are the fact that they take 6-8 hours to set up, tend to be smaller than their continental counterparts, and don't look as visually impressive.

The major advantage is the fact that they arrive in little pieces. This means they can be carried through narrow entrances, up stairs or lifted over obstructions, so they can be operated at far more venues than the modern equivalent.

Continental Dodgems

These usually arrive on a single vehicle, with the entire ride, folded up on a single trailer. Set up can be as little as 2-3 hours, they are more highly decorated, come with additional lighting effects and usually better sound systems. The major drawback, as mentioned, is that if you cannot drive them into position, then they cannot be used.

What To Look Out For

With the advent of the internet, all you need to do is look online, ask for some quotes, choose the cheapest one and away you go right? Well, you can do it that way. You might be lucky and drop on a professional operator who will give you everything you want. On the other hand you might get a guy with a Russian accent and a lightly used ride from the Pripyat theme park. (Little hint, that was next door to Chernobyl, and if you are too young to remember Chernobyl, then it was a nuclear power station that, well, blew up!)

So, how do you avoid the cowboys?

The time honoured method of asking for testimonials can help. Any good operator will be happy to put you in touch with satisfied clients.

Ask for their safety documents. A dodgem ride should come with public liability insurance, risk assessments, method statements and an inspection certificate from ADIPS. This is the equivalent of a cars MOT. It might be worth going to the ADIPS website and checking the number on the certificate is valid. It isn't unknown for a shady character to use a scanner and printer to update an old certificate. Whilst your at it check the insurance docs are valid as well, for the same reason.

I would also ask for an image of the actual ride, how many cars you would have on the ride and whether it comes with lights, music and a top cover for use in the rain.

The Cheap One

One well known 'scam' on the fairground circuit was to offer a ride at half the normal price. You booked it, basking in the glory of how much money you had saved On the big day the ride would turn up with 4 cars on, no top cover, lights or music, and a declaration that if it rained you couldn't use the ride for health and safety reasons.

When you complained you would be shown a book with an image of the exact ride in front of you and the price tag. When the provider flipped to the next page, you would see the ride with a top cover and a couple of extra cars, along with an additional £200 charge. Eventually if you flipped enough pages you would arrive at the specification you thought you were getting in the first place.

The Non Refundable Deposit

Another scam I have come across is the guy that again offers a super cheap price. When you ask to book you are told that you need to pay a non refundable deposit of £300.

Now, sadly, the day before your event, you get a phone call, all apologetic and tragic, of how the dodgem ride, en route to you was kidnapped by space aliens, or spontaneously combusted, and they are ever so sorry, but not to worry, instead of dodgems they would be bringing you a coconut shie, and no need to thank them, they wouldn't be charging you anymore money than what the dodgems were going to cost.

When you quite rightly refuse this, you are told its tough luck, they are not bringing anything and the deposit was non refundable. Now, you exclaim, surely that won't hold up in a court of law. No, I doubt it would, but how many people are going to go to the time and expense of starting a legal case over £300. And if they do, well the operator might give you your money back to save the hassle, but if he only gets to keep half of his deposits he has a nice little sideline going.


If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If the price is cheaper than everybody else, there is usually a reason.

If they can't supply the documents we mentioned be worried, they are all legal requirements to operate a ride.

If the guy speaks with a Russian accent and is called Vlad, run away!

An Example Of A Nice Continental Dodgem


A Nice Traditional Dodgem Track


© 2020 Jason Moody


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