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Do you think Luge could be made safer and still be Luge?
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Do you think Luge could be made safer and still be Luge? - February 13, 2010, 03:36 PM

I don't want to get in to this in the thread about the tragedy of a person losing their life. That thread has it's purpose.

This thread's purpose is about the question of safety.

Do you think Luge could be made safer and still be Luge? If so, how?

I've heard/read 3 ideas about the incident at the games.

1. Get rid of those hard things on the perimeter of the course!
2. Keep the hard things but put some netting on the sides so they don't bash in to things!
3. Keep the hard things but put a wall up to so they don't bash in to things!

I personally, don't have any ideas I'd call good to make the sport safer. I think the above 3 ideas are bad ideas. But believe it or not I am a fan of mitigating risk where it doesn't impact the sport, so I am curious if anybody does have any good ideas, and what they may be.

Why do I think they're bad ideas?
Okay.
1. So instead of poles 4 feet off the course to run in to, the individual is going to fly off course and hit something 10, 20, 30, or more feet off course. The point is, this is a person flying through the air at high velocity and hitting something hard. It really doesn't matter what or where that something is. It's the same difference.

2. So put a net up, no more hitting hard stuff! Right? Wrong. Luge is on ICE. You *can not* put anything between the person and the Ice, or you wouldn't have the sport. The ice is unavoidable hard stuff. Now, consider the angle of attack at which the individual hit the pole. This isn't like running in to a wall head on. It's a very narrow angle of attack. Putting a person in to a net at that angle, is only going to put them in to a nasty spinning tumble right back on to the ice, still at a very high velocity. Who here would rather slide off the course at Summit vs. tumble off? I know I would.

3. So, make the walls higher. The luger slides, no impacts, no tumbling, problem solved! Wrong again. The luger went up over the wall because they were going.. UP! Make the wall higher, and the luger will just keep on going up. This guy is going upwards of 90mph. I don't care how tall you make that wall. You have only 2 outcomes. 1. The luger clears the wall and goes flying off course which is what we already have, or 2. The luger does not clear the wall, but has reached a mortally high altitude and is now going to fall back to the ice which is no less risky than jumping off a building from a mortally high altitude.


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February 13, 2010, 05:52 PM

yes, they should limit the top speed. 40mph would be much safer


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February 13, 2010, 08:45 PM

Hitting an object adjacent to the course should not be a reason for someone to die in modern sports.

The luge course CAN be fixed o reduce and almost even eliminate such incidents.

Might as well have moto GP on the beltway.


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February 13, 2010, 08:59 PM

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Originally Posted by Naked_Biker View Post
Hitting an object adjacent to the course should not be a reason for someone to die in modern sports.

The luge course CAN be fixed to reduce and almost even eliminate such incidents.
Okay, but how?


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February 14, 2010, 10:30 AM

U.S luger comments on using the women's lower starting slot: "It's a lot slower. Boring really, but safer I guess"

Olympics= World's best at the pinnacle of their sport. What's next? Start the down hill racers halfway down because it is too fast? To avoid Hermanitor type crashes? Isn't it about taking known risks? Lugers have the option of sliding with a fully armored suit...not so aero though


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February 14, 2010, 10:31 AM

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Okay, but how?
cover the posts with Plexiglas wall so they bounce off and not all inertia is instantly arrested by one fixed pole.


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February 14, 2010, 12:47 PM

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cover the posts with Plexiglas wall so they bounce off and not all inertia is instantly arrested by one fixed pole.
Putting vertical posts right at the edge of the track like they did is shear idiocy. When I saw that video I absolutely could not believe that there were unprotected hard objects like that next to the track.. YES, The ICE is HARD.. But the ide is a continuous sheet and its not that easy to whack into it at 90 degrees at fill speed.. There are MANY ways this could be fixed..

#1 put plexiglass (or something strong) at the top of the track to prevent 90 degree strikes into those posts.

#2 Don't be a moron and design tracks with death-posts lining them!!

#3 put safety nets into place to prevent hitting objects further afield...

#4 use freaking COMMON SENSE when designing tracks for this.. I really can NOT believe how unbelievably stupid it is to line a high speed track with solid metal poles like that..


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February 14, 2010, 07:24 PM

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#4 use freaking COMMON SENSE when designing tracks for this.. I really can NOT believe how unbelievably stupid it is to line a high speed track with solid metal poles like that..

I've actually been to the Whistler Sliding Center and you can't forget that as Spud pointed out, it is part of the traditional design that you need a roof over the track to keep rain, snow etc off the track to ensure a fair track for all runs. The roof needs to support the snowfall as well (120 inch base at Whistler) and you can't put the poles on the inside (spectators). Perhaps a more arching design would remove the poles farther from the track but at 90mph you will get there eventually..

Again, I think if you simply put a Plexiglas wall in front of them he would bounce off. It would hurt but he would survive and it is not a common mistake as a result of design flaw in the track.

Don't forget that the majority of the time you are running World Cup events on this track with elite athletes. In the Olympics the standard drops since any country can put a sled out there...

Think of it as running a MotoGP race on Laguna Seca with a rider from every country. Rossi, Stoner and Spies nail it but the guy from Ethiopia blows the corkscrew - is it the track's fault?

You don't build the track to the lowest common denominator


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February 14, 2010, 07:55 PM

air walls at all points that are open. you can still have the structral supports, just need air walls like bumper bowling. I think that would keep from being ejected out of the course.
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February 15, 2010, 08:07 AM

I've been thinking about it and I think the plexi glass idea is a good one. I don't see how it could make anything worse, it doesn't interfere with anything, and it has the potential to help.

Air walls would help to but it gets in the way of the spectators and such. It would be like having air walls instead of plexi at a hockey game.


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February 15, 2010, 08:10 AM

i think when you get into this sport you realize the risk involved. The same concept applies to sportbikes. I dont think they should have changed it. just my .02


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February 15, 2010, 08:16 AM

im surprised no one has brought up that the skeleton is just as dangerous. Pretty much the same sled but facing head first on your stomach.


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February 15, 2010, 08:21 AM



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February 15, 2010, 09:38 AM

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February 15, 2010, 10:10 AM

What about an inflatable vest system like the one they are researching for sportbikes? That would soften a crash for them. Also better rider protection/suits. I know it might not be as eurodynamic but would help in the event of a crash.


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