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The Prevalence of Vertigo/fear or heights in the Coaster community.


Hyper Poster
First off speaking of my own experience - as a coaster enthusiast, who also has a fear of heights - it's a somewhat strange dichotomy - which may not make sense from outside observations.

I was recently with family where we were on cantilevered walkways and stairs with that metal-mesh flooring - and I had a little verbal 'wobble' at my discomfort, my family members who where more comfortable - mentioned it was strange because I like being 100's of feet above the ground on coasters - upside down, and every which way!

And It got me thinking how the two things coexist! I've also come to learn I'm very much not alone in these feelings within the coaster enthusiast community. Theirs actually quite a high prevalence of people with a fear of heights amongst us.

For instance many of us don't particular like drop towers (although I feel I'm actually getting better at them). and rides such as star flyers - are a hard 'no thanks'.

The key to a lot of this is speed! most coasters you are going at speed while at height and theres a constant change in perception and forces that you don't really regard the aspect of height!
however just 'dangling' there at height - such as say, on a Huss condor which sways and creaks - is more psychologically terrifying and brings about a sense of vulnerability that you don't consider on a coaster! Dangling by chains on a chair on a star flyer.... vile!

Also I feel it ADDs to my coaster experience - as I'm often genuinely frightened... especially on lift hills, I'll be full of excitement then as I'm slowly trundling uphill - on say Shambala - and the fear genuinely hits me!......its a true tension and release situation!

Also drop towers...Like i say I've had a wobbly history with them, the slow assent gets be into a state of almost panic (in fact to get through I sometimes have to close me eyes) BUT I love the drop!

This all leads to my adrenaline genuinely being spiked! and the endorphins of the release afterwards! It might all be about control and leaning into fear, and seeking sensation outside of a comfort zone!

Anyway - I just thought I'd start a conversation of how your relationship between your enthusiasms and your fears effect you, as for others it might be claustrophobia - but your ok with coaster restraints (or 'cope' with them etc).
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Rob Coasters

Hyper Poster
I'm exactly the same in getting a pretty bad wobble even standing next to about a 20ft drop, but I am completely unphased - even a little bored - while sitting at the top of the tallest drop towers I've done.

This made me realise I don't have a fear of heights... I have a fear of falling. It doesn't affect me on drop towers or coasters because I have absolutely no way of getting out of that restraint & dying, even if I tried.

But an interesting thing... when I have a restraint gap on a not-very-intense ride I can't look at rides that basically "require" a tight restraint because of that same feeling (think about people on Airborne while I'm wasting away on Euro Coaster gets me good), but from the ground I can look at both just fine.


Giga Poster
I don't have a fear of heights and have never had any sort of physical reaction to being up a tall building or structure.

However, those free climb videos where someone has a GoPro strapped to their head whilst walking across some suspect looking ledge on an abandoned building or crane. Those literally turn my stomach to mush.

Weird how the brain works.


Staff member
Social Media Team
I think it's way less about height and more about the sense of security. I have no issue with coasters or drop towers. I have no issue with tall buildings or glass floors that are more enclosed.

I have a bit of a wobble at heights with low railings. It's a ridiculous thought of "I could jump off this right now if I wanted."

The most scared I've ever been when it comes to rides was on a f**king chair lift, which wasn't particularly high, connecting the area near the metro station at Seoul Grand Park up to the zoo entrance. It goes over a lake and the restraint is just a bar that gets pulled down but not locked; it just moves freely.

The whole time, I had the ridiculous urge to just lift the bar up and jump off, which, physically, would've been entirely possible. If it were a tall building with a low balcony, I could've stepped back for a second. If I was with someone else instead of being alone, I could've distracted myself. As it was, I was on a chairlift over a lake, by myself, with a massive urge to just jump out and no way to remove myself from the situation. Fu**ing horrific.


Mega Poster
Any ride, be it a coaster, drop tower, chairlift I am fine with. I have no issue at all because I trust the structure I am on. I was however instructed many years ago to go up a ladder onto the roof of where I work, and I absolutely filled my trousers. I had zero faith in the ladder or the person holding it, but I was selected to go up because I love coasters....! How the hell does that work?

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Fear of exposed height, / fear of falling here too. Everybody thinks it’s weird, given my hobby.

But that’s exactly what pushed me towards this hobby when I was young. I remember the sense of achievement, the adrenaline rush, the sheer thrill of stepping off coasters like the Missile at American Adventure or Nemesis at Alton Towers, after practically forcing myself to ride in the first place.

I had the same thrill and rush after walking across the footbridge at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. I was close to tears going across, knees were going, I wanted to get down on all 4s and crawl, Cara comforted me all the way but I made it… And it was worth it, there’s no thrill on this earth like conquering your fears!!!

I struggle driving too, if I’m on mountain roads and can see out over the edge it’s horrendous, I have to hyper focus on the road ahead.

Thankfully coasters and rides just don’t bother me whatsoever now. I miss the thrill, but I don’t miss having to build myself up to riding them for hours before…


Mega Poster
All lot of what is being said hear sounds like my feelings on heights.

I can ride Silver Star at EP or Stealth at Thorpe ok, but I get nervous and have sweaty palms going up ladders as I feel insecure and unsafe.


Hyper Poster
Such an interesting thread. I'm not great with heights, but much better when properly 'strapped in'. So, massive coaster with restraints are okay, BUT star flyer with the stupid little flappy chain and piddly plastic seat- HORRID.

Not too long ago we visited a village in France that had a grassy walk way around it, with a sheer drop below (probs a good 50/60 foot drop, maybe more) and no hand rail/wall or anything. I couldn't get closer than about 10 meters to the edge and even watching other people walk near it made my legs feel funny. My brain was doing a 'what if I trip and ROLL over the edge' or 'what if there's a gust of wind that blows me over'. Totally ridiculous, but I love me a hyper coaster.


Mega Poster
I get entirely what you mean here and I do have something of a fear of heights, but nowhere near as much as my girlfriend has for me. It's trust. Despite the fact that, yes, there are accidents, I trust technology much more than I trust myself, or people generally. I did a skydive in Switzerland a few years ago and it was amazing. Very little fear because the physics are simple. 'Chute opens, you glide down.

On the same trip I drove around the Nurburgring and it was terrifying, because this relied on my skill, and also the skill of all the other idiots who drove around there. And I just did not have the trust.

When I was in Arches NP in Utah, I was scrambling over these rocks with a massive drop off on one side. And my girlfriend was terrified for me. You see, like many in this hobby (and this might feed in to your question as to prevalence as it may well be that as a group there may well be more of us who are than in the population as an average) I'm neurodivergent, and in me it does manifest somewhat with dyspraxia. I'm clumsy. If its there I'll trip over it, or fall over it. At 41 I've learned to live with it, and I do try to face my fears, but I still don't like it. I just don't trust myself to be stood at the top of a cliff. But put me under a B&M clamshell, and take me as high as you want


Hyper Poster
I did a skydive in Switzerland a few years ago and it was amazing. Very little fear because the physics are simple. 'Chute opens, you glide down.

Braver than me, I'd never do a skydive - its an experience I'd quite happily love without ever having! I simply would no enjoy it and would only me glad to be on land, i hate that feeling of having noting solid underneath me - I don't like to overthink planes too much for that reason - and also the whole standing on a precipice and jumping/falling - bungie jumping is also a bit fat no thanks
The only things that really freak me out these days are Hangtimes Holding break. Fine with b&m dives, but it wobbles a little too much for my liking. Other than that, Tatsu's lift hill is genuinely unnerving looking straight down that high with nothing but a vest and some shin pads.

I really love how freaky it is, but X2's first drop in the front is so weird just being hurled straight at the ground facing the wrong way.