Safety When Building And Using A Zip Line
A simple backyard zip line can be made with a harness suspended on a cable, tied to two points high above ground. The harness lets a rider glide from the higher to the lower end, and depending on area it covers, the zip line lets you enjoy scenic beauty, or simply the thrill of zipping through the air. Below are some of the aspects you should consider for safety while installing a zip line.
The landing zone
About 200,000 children enter ERs every year from playground related injuries, 6 out of 10 of them from falls. In response, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends protective surfacing in areas where riders are prone to fall off the harness. This is to absorb the brunt of the shock so that any injuries would be minimized. In the case of zip lines, you could also use something – wood chips, for example – under and around the line. Also good to this effect are double-shredded bark mulch, fine sand and fine gravel. Make sure the protective layer is at least 6 inches deep so it absorbs shock from falls from up to 6 feet.
You usually set up a zip line between two trees. If there are no trees in the area, you could drive poles in the grounds and use these instead. But the latter need to be study, so install them with guy wires – one end to the top of the pole, and the other in the ground. Also, thicker cables are safer to carry heavier adults, or if the line is very high off the ground. Your zip line brake is allows the rider to stop his glide if they are about to slam into an obstacle on the path. The block type zip line brake is the most common one, but you can even install a used tire for this purpose.
The orientation of the line
The height and angle of your zip line decides the speeds you can achieve on it. 10 feet of separation between the anchors is good for a fast ride; if this is for children, 6 feet is safer. The angle and droop of the cable are also important to the speed, as well as to the apparent effectiveness of the zip line brake. For every 100 feet of cable length, engineer a drop of about 6 feet, and a sag of 2. Make sure the zip line brake is working properly before anyone takes a ride.