Dodgem cars, or bumper cars, are a popular form of attraction at amusement parks all over the world. They are small, electric cars that draw power from the floor or the roof of the ride. Groups of visitors take control of the cars and can drive around the circuit, trying to crash into each other.
There are several different names for this kind of ride, depending on the country. In the US, they are usually called bumper cars. In other countries they are called bumping cars or dashing cars. The prevalent name in the United Kingdom is bumper cars. These cars were invented by Victor Levand, who was working for G.E at the time.
The spirit of a dodgems ride is that the riders are supposed to bump into other cars. However, for health and safety purposes some ride operators have started putting up signs noting “this way around”, suggesting that the riders follow a path. Others even display “no head-on bumping” warnings, in the hopes of preventing whiplash style injuries. However, these rules are rarely enforced.
Dodgems and bumper cars were very popular between the 1920s and 1950s, but interest in the attraction has declined somewhat in recent decades. However, there are still some large bumper cars floors in some amusement parks in the USA. For example, in Six Flags Great America there is a massive floor called the Rue Le Dodge. There is another similar ride at California’s Great America, however this one has an island in the middle of the floor, which means that the total floor space available for divers is significantly reduced. There are many small, moveable bumper car attractions used by travelling fairs, especially in the United Kingdom, where summer fairs run by gypsies and carnival troops are still quite popular.