Bungee jumping New Jersey
TRENTON, May 10— The state today banned bungee jumping from cranes, but said the sport could continue where permanent platforms are built.
"There are people who do some funny things in order to get a thrill, and God knows we're not going to interfere with the human spirit, " said the state Labor Commissioner, Raymond L. Bramucci. "But government's proper role is to insure that the integrity of the system is there."
Of the 15 bungee jumps in New Jersey in 1992, only the one at Action Park in Vernon Valley used a permanent structure, Mr. Bramucci said. The rest were mobile cranes set up for brief periods.
In addition to requiring fixed platforms, the commissioner announced that operators must:
*Limit jumps to 100 feet.
*Install air bags as safety cushions.
*Obtain state certification of the accuracy of scales used to weigh jumpers.
*Obtain liability insurance coverage of $1 million.
*Not require riders to sign liability waivers.
Mr. Bramucci said the regulations were developed after a hearing in November and in response to the concerns of crane manufacturers.
"The crane manufacturers themselves have said these cranes are designed to move material, not to move people, " he said. "They are on the record strongly disassociating themselves from this activity. That gives one pause." 'Carny Atmosphere' Cited
Several incidents involving bungee operations last summer left the state scrambling to regulate the fad.
Barbara Schilling, of Delaware, was treated for neck and spinal cord injuries July 27 after the elastic cord on a North Wildwood bungee ride failed to snap her back up. Her head hit an inflatable safety cushion at the base of the jump. The ride's owner blamed a faulty scale used to determine which bungee cord should be used.
A bungee crane not in use toppled over during high winds at Wildwood's Fun Pier on July 31.
Mr. Bramucci said he had no objections to bungee jumping if the rides are inspected, approved and deemed as safe as "is possible with this sport."
"One of the things that concerned us was that there was this carny atmosphere to this, where you brought in strangers and came in for the quick kill, " he said. "This will insure that the operators in New Jersey will be people with their roots in New Jersey and therefore people we can look at and know who they are."