Dodging Without Crashing
What are bumper cars? They are fun rides by children and adults in amusement parks. They are powered by electricity, either from the wire mesh in the ceiling,in the old days, or from the floor of the room, as most are today. These electric components power the cars. An operator turns the electricity off or on remotely. The cars generally have two seats for two riders, but some cars come with a single seat. The challenge in the ride is to avoid bumping into or, more precisely, crashing into another car when the operator turns on the electricity.
Many establishments incorporate safety measures, including signs showing which direction to steer or other rules to prevent a head-on collision. Though many believe this detracts from the fun, if it’s the only bumper cars in town, you’ll still find many willing participants.
History of Bumper Cars
Bumper cars at amusement parks were prevalent in the 1920s through the 1950s. What kid wouldn’t want to get behind the wheel and drive like Dad and Mom? The two favorite car brands were Dodgem®, by Max and Harold Stoehrer, and the Auto Skooter, a fiberglass car made by the Lusse Brothers.
In the 1960s, a new type of car wasbuilt, much like a hovercraft, called the flying saucer. This marvel, introduced by Disneyland®, was soon discontinued, because it was prone to mechanical failures. The largest bumper car floor is at the Six Flags Great America® in Illinois.
Bumper cars remain one of the most enjoyable rides in amusement parks, from the 1920s until today, for those of us who love the experience of dodging without crashing into other cars, and even those whose only goal is to crash.