Lawmaker says he’s open to idea of state regulations after fatal zip line accident in Kanab

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Fatal accidents like the one that happened Tuesday at Kanab Zipline are rare, but exactly how many injuries or accidents have occurred statewide is unknown.

The Utah Department of Commerce, which oversees licensing and inspections of businesses ranging from medical facilities to hair salons, has no regulations or inspections process for zip line operators. Kanab Zipline

State Representative Mike Noel, R-District 73, represents a large portion of southern Utah--including Kanab, and he tells FOX 13 News the accident that claimed 53-year-old Darrell Gilley's life is the first time he's ever heard of an incident at Kanab Zipline.

"I think they've got a pretty good safety record," he said.

Still, Noel is concerned about the lack of regulation over zip line businesses in Utah.

"I'd probably support some kind of oversight by the state," Noel said.

Park City based company Ziprider has constructed several of Utah's most well-known zip line rides, including one which recently opened at Sundance Resort.

An employee there says Ziprider builds to standards which exceed recommendations by the American Society for Testing and Materials, and above the standards required by Colorado law--which is the only state to enact strict regulations so far.

Ziprider did not build the Kanab Zipline attraction.

It's uncertain if safety standards like the ones in Colorado could have saved the life of Darrell Gilley, but Representative Noel said Gilley's death leaves him pondering the need for a more watchful eye over zip line rides in Utah.

"I'm not against zip lines," he said. "They may be fine. But I think if we've got regulations on Lagoon and other entertainment events like that, then we ought to have some minimum type standards."

2 comments

  • Finny Wiggen

    Hooray!! MIke Noel to the rescue!! Enacting more laws that control what I can and can’t do!!

    Whatever happened to freedom?
    If I want to pay money to strap myself to a zipline I can. Heck, If I want to pay money to strap myself to a rocket, and shoot myself straight at a brick wall I can. It is none of your business!

    As a rider, I am smart enough to look at the equipment, and make my own informed decision. I don’t need a legislator telling me how I can and can’t recreate! I appreciate the sentiment, and the intent. But a million little laws like this add up to a lot of red tape, and a stiffed economy.

    If the brick wall kills me… well, it was my own fault, and there is one less stupid person in the world… If I survive, and had fun, what business is it of yours to involve yourself?

    • miles (dave)

      suicide is illegal for a reason. people are valuable and a lot of economy goes into helping you and me enjoy and be as comfortable as we are (in case you disagree. just know that it dosnt matter how much money you have if the power goes out and theres no one to fix it you dont get power unless you know how to fix it your self) there are just too many jobs and business people do that are wanted and needed. as a result you and me are quite literally expected to work hard to add our bit to the economy and make the world around us better. healthy economys are made up of people who do great work in a great environment with other people who also do great work in a great environment and those people exchange wanted and needed goods.

      for those who talk about freedom the way you did… they dont understand that the term freedom is not to say that you can do anything but the term freedom as stated when talking about the laws and such that govern our nation… well those freedoms are actually in a list… there is a list of things you can do. and a list of things you should not do

      now im not so sure im a huge fan of laws about zip lining because i know that, such regulations could be made to a unreasonable extent and could do more harm than good, however like with most things we do in life here in america we have a certain expectation for safety and fair trade. that expectation comes because of the great environment thing i talked about earlier. so no its not a bad idea to have regulations on things, for just as it is a good idea to not have to choose which hamburger joint to eat at based on which one will give you botulism so we should not have to worry weather or not the guy at the zip line knows if the equipment is done right or is something wrong. you might be tempted to think “well if enough people die at that zip line or restaurant then people will just stop going”… well tell that to the people who died and got sick… then after finding your self in this crazy place where we dont have regulations on important things like that if you take a look around you will find your in a place a lot like the back roads of mexico, and other central and southern american countries. and many of those countries own citizens are doing there best to leave and they are trying to leave because they are looking for a better environment to work and live in.

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