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LARA Now Requiring Zip Line Operators to Obtain Permits

Operators need to apply for permits by March 1 and lines must also be state inspected before operation

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280

February 8, 2017 – To help ensure the safety of zip line riders in Michigan, line operators are now required to obtain a permit and their rides must be state inspected prior to operation. Zip lines are now subject to regulation under the Michigan Carnival-Amusement Safety Act as a “carnival or amusement ride,” as recently determined by the Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) in LARA.  A zip line involves the use of a cable or a rope attached to a rider by a safety harness. It moves propelled by the force of gravity along a fixed route or course.

“All owners or operators of zip lines in Michigan must apply for a permit, and each ride must be inspected by the state to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all riders,” said CSCL Director Julia Dale. “Given the increasing prevalence of zip lines throughout the country and this state, we want to ensure that they are being properly operated and maintained.”

The act prohibits a person from operating a carnival-amusement ride without a permit issued by the department director. An operator must apply for a permit on or before March 1 of each year. The act also requires the owner or operator of a carnival-amusement ride to demonstrate proof of a policy of insurance or a surety bond in an amount not less than $300,000.00 with a lesser amount applicable to owners or operators having only one ride designed primarily for use by children.

An Application for Authorization to Operate a Carnival Ride can be found by clicking and then on “Forms & Publications,” and “Carnival Forms.” The application fee will be $10 plus an additional inspection fee of $50 per ride.

Under the act, LARA may order the temporary cessation of operations of a carnival-amusement ride if the inspection of the ride was “impeded, obstructed or interfered with,” including where an owner or operator continues to operate a ride without a valid permit or state inspection. LARA may also order the temporary cessation of operations of a ride if an inspection determines the ride to be hazardous or unsafe. In either case, operation of the ride may not continue, until either the hazardous or unsafe condition is corrected to the satisfaction of the department director, or a satisfactory inspection result is obtained after a completed permit application is submitted, and the inspection is allowed to proceed.

According to the act a “carnival or amusement ride” means a device that carries or conveys passengers along, around, or over a fixed or restricted route or course for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, pleasure, thrills, or excitement.

Additional information, including the laws and rules applicable to carnival-amusement rides, may be found at: An owner or operator who violates the Act is guilty of a misdemeanor with each day a violation occurs constituting a separate offense.

For more information about LARA, please visit
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