How the Brakes on Zip Lines Work

How Do the Brakes on Zip Lines Actually Work?

Zip lines offer an exciting and unique way to challenge yourself. The combination of speed, height, and the scenery around a zip line all come together to make an exhilarating and memorable experience. They’re also safe, as long as you’re riding on zip lines at a recognized adventure park like Empower Adventure Park.

One of the things that keeps a zip line safe is the brakes and the other systems in place to make sure you stop where you’re supposed to. In today’s blog, the Empower Adventure Park team explains how a zip line braking system works and how it’s designed for your safety.

Active Braking

Active braking is the most involved, and potentially most dangerous, method that’s used as a stopping mechanism for zip lines. In active braking, the actual braking mechanism is you. Using thick, padded gloves and brake pads, the zip line rider is the one who controls when and how slowly (or quickly) they stop. Due to the fact that active braking relies on your own focus and knowledge of not only when to stop, but how to stop, it can be extremely dangerous. If you’re inexperienced, you should avoid active braking.

Passive Braking

Passive braking is a catch-all category that includes all other brake types on zip lines that aren’t active braking carried out by the rider. There are quite a few different types of passive braking, all used for different reasons.

Gravity Brakes

Gravity braking isn’t dependent on a specific mechanism. Instead, gravity braking relies on the slack given to a zip line cable. When a cable is slack the rider will lose momentum, finally coming to rest rather than zipping rapidly from one end to another. The major downside here is that it takes a while for the rider to actually come to a complete stop.

Magnetic Braking

Magnetic brakes are a newer invention in zip line safety and can add both safety for the riders and a lasting durability to the zip line itself. Magnetic brakes are designed to allow the rider to come to a smooth, reliable stop.

Spring Brakes

Spring-based braking systems are more common. They work by having a spring coiled around the end of a zip line, which is compressed when the rider makes contact with it. This brings the rider to a safe stop with a simple braking system.

Find Out More About Our Zip Lines and Tours

If you were nervous about zip lines before, then hopefully this blog has served to reassure you of the reliable safety of the well-designed zip lines at recognized adventure parks. If you’re ready to embark on your own tree top adventure, talk to the team at Empower Adventure Park today. We can offer a variety of events, packages, and tours in our Connecticut adventure park, and we’ll help you get the most out of your day of excitement and empowerment.