- Sports and Recreation
How Safe is Safe? Bungee Jumping
Adventure seekers from all over the nation flock to bridges, cranes, and buildings everywhere, in attempt to receive a minute of thrill through the act of bungee jumping. What exactly is bungee jumping? It is a sport where individuals are harnessed by ankle or chest, attached to elastic cords, and jump off of a high structure, but are sprung back up before hitting the ground. It is supposed to give the illusion of falling, without the disastrous results within three stages. These three stages are: free falling, body declaration, and upward movement. Each stage releases endorphins and increases adrenaline to create the ultimate adventure.
The Big Question
Many individuals are intrigued by the possible risks that coincide with this process, but many can’t even deal with the thought. The truth is bungee jumping is taking a chance with life. Although this may be true, there are many safety precautions that are put in place so that this minuscule chance will not occur. To start, “bungee cords are made with hundreds of long interwoven individual rubber strands, each about 1mm (1/32 of an inch) thick. They can be designed to handle weights as heavy as a multi-ton machine or as light as your backpack” (Dmitriy Kernasovskiy). This is how you know the chord will not break under your weight. There are specific chords designated for certain weight ranges, in order to ensure a safe jump. What if the harness breaks? There are two types of harnesses to bungee jump. These are ankle harnesses and chest harnesses. Chest harnesses were created to reduce possible injuries that were common with ankle harnesses, and improve safety precautions. Each are thoroughly checked and double-checked before and after each jump.
Just as any other sport, there is a possibility of injury with bungee jumping. Most common injuries are man human error, consisting of if the cord elasticity is miscalculated with weight, the rope is not connected correctly to the body, or to the base. There are also smaller injuries that may occur such as “eye trauma, rope burn, uterine prolapse, dislocations, bruises, pinched fingers and back injury” (Lola Jones). Several factors weigh into the risks of a jump, but the risk of each jump is almost impossible to calculate. Statistically, chances of death are “1 in 500,000 jumps” (Dmitriy Kernasovskiy).
Let's put it into perspective
Did you know?
Roller coasters kill 4 people every year? “About 1 in 124,000 result in an injury” (Beverly Jenkins).
“There is a one in four chance that you will die from lung cancer?” (Rebecca Goldin PhD).
Every year 6,000 people die from texting and driving?
450 people die every year in the United States from falling out of bed?
Ants kill 30 people every year? (Beverly Jenkins).
According to Rideaccidents.com, a site devoted to comprehensive coverage of amusement ride accident reports and related news, there have been at least 18 bungee jumping fatalities between 1986 and 2002.
Compared to the stats listed above, it seems as if your chances encountering an ant is more dangerous than bungee jumping. Every individual must way out pros and cons of bungee jumping before making a decision. This sport has science, physical, and human processes that protect the jumper from fatalities. Although these have a chance to occur, it is very unlikely.
I’ve taken the chance, now will you?
Goldin, Rebecca. "STATS: The Science of Luck." STATS: We Check Out the Numbers Behind the News. Stats, 20 Sept. 2006. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. <http://stats.org/stories/2006/science_luck_sep20_06.htm>.
Jenkins, Beverly. "10 Incredibly Bizarre Death Statistics - Oddee.com (death, Die...)." A Blog onOddities: The Odd, Bizarre and Strange Things of Our World! | Oddee.com. Oddee. Web.24 Jan. 2012. <http://www.oddee.com/item_98002.aspx>.
Kernasovskiy, Dmitriy. "Bungee Jumping Guide." Bungee Jumping Guide: World's OnlyComprehensive Guide to Bungee Jumping On Every Continent and Beyond!Bungee Jump.Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <http://bungeejumpingguide.com/>.