Business

After deadly accident, zip lines will likely face new insurance requirements

Kaylie Dake, (left) 11, of Walkertown and pal Sydney Witt, 11, of Winston-Salem ride a tandem zip line with a group visiting Carolina Ziplines Canopy Tour near Westfield, N.C., Wednesday, July 1, 2015.
Kaylie Dake, (left) 11, of Walkertown and pal Sydney Witt, 11, of Winston-Salem ride a tandem zip line with a group visiting Carolina Ziplines Canopy Tour near Westfield, N.C., Wednesday, July 1, 2015. File Photo

Operators of zip line attractions could face new insurance requirements under a bill headed to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

The N.C. Senate took a final, unanimous vote Thursday on Senate Bill 100, titled “Aerial Adventure Financial Responsibility.” It would require operators of zip lines, challenge courses and similar facilities to carry a liability insurance policy that covers up to $1 million per incident or a total of $2 million.

Government-owned zip line courses or private courses that aren’t open to the public would be exempt from the requirement.

More than 100 zip lines are operating in North Carolina, and the industry is exempt from state oversight. Most zip line courses are inspected annually as a requirement of insurance policies, but they haven’t been required to have liability insurance policies.

Zip lines are steel cables, attached to towers or trees, that passengers glide across using pulleys and harnesses. The courses are often on slopes and give participants a speedy ride down a hill.

After a deadly 2015 accident on a zip line, the legislature ordered a study of zip line safety and regulations. In the study, the N.C. Department of Labor determined that zip lines shouldn’t be regulated and inspected like amusement rides.

“No amount of regulation will remove all risk from this industry, and the department is not convinced that additional regulations will create a safer industry,” the report said.

  Comments