While pedal go-karting is a relatively safe sport of kids, it is still not without its hazards. The majority of go-kart injuries are head trauma. Neck trauma is a close second. These injuries are caused by flipping karts or driving them through obstructions like track railings or low hanging branches. Most go-kart injuries result from poor driving. These include pulling out in front of a vehicle, ramming an obstacle, and/or excessive speed that makes maneuvers difficult.
Most injuries and deaths could have been avoided with safe go-kart driving practices. Here are some important safety tips for operating your pedal go-kart.
# 1 Wear Proper Gear
A helmet approved by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a must. The kids helmet should fit the driver’s head properly. Learn more here.
- Shoulder length and longer hair should be secured so it doesn’t catch anything.
- Seatbelts are provided. Using them is mandatory.
# 2 Be Alert for Other Drivers on the Track and off
Go-karts are low to the ground. They are not visible from a vehicle’s rearview mirror. If go-karts are being driven off the track, a safety flag and/or flashing light on a pole should be affixed to the go-kart. On and off the track pedal go-kart drivers need to be aware of traffic around them.
# 3 Use Good Judgement
Drivers should use common sense on the track and off. Do not bump another go-kart. Don’t swerve into the path of another go-kart. Do not stop on the track. Steer to the side out of the path of other go-kart drivers.
Do not veer off the track or change lanes unsafely.
Do not ride tandem in a one-seat go-kart. Go-kart deaths have occurred because a young rider was sitting in front of the driver. Only if the go-kart has seats for two should a passenger be added and then only if he is wearing a helmet and seat belt.
# 4 Practice Driver Etiquette
Every driver should have a lesson or course on how to drive a go-kart properly. Go-karts can be fast and dangerous. If they are not under control they collide with a fence, tree, car, or hedge or another go-kart. Treat other drivers the way you would want to bed treated.
- Whenever you are behind the wheel of a vehicle of any kind, you need to be a responsible driver.
- Go karts drivers should be a single file, not in groups.
#5 Drive on Supervised Areas
One of the safety measures for operating go-karts is staying on the go-kart course. The course should be supervised by a responsible operator who will ban drivers who drive dangerously. The operator will also make sure the track is clear of pedestrians and bystanders.
- It is illegal to drive go-karts on the street or private parking lots.
- Supervisors should stop go-karts exhibiting dangerous driving.
#6 Make sure Go-Kart is Maintained
- All spinning shafts, belts, chains, clutches, and axles should have guards to protect from the entanglement of hair or clothing.
- Make sure tire pressure is correct.
- Tighten bolts on steering wheel/handlebars, brakes, and wheels.
- Spray lubricant works on enclosed chains.
- Make sure pedals are adjusted so young drivers can reach.
- Adjust brakes before riding.
- Read and obey the owner’s manual.
# 7 Rollover Protection!
Make sure the driver’s head is below the rollover bar. A roll cage is good protection against rollovers. Don’t assume that you can drive dangerously if you’ve got a rollover cage. Practice safe driving to avoid rollovers. Don’t take corners too fast, or go over jumps recklessly.
#8 Stay in the Go-Kart
When the ride is over and you are directed by the attendant. Go to the pit area to get out of your go-kart. While on the track never get out of your pedal go-kart. If you must stop cruise to the side or go to the pit.
#9 Report Unsafe Situations
If another driver or a bystander is behaving in an unsafe manner, report this to the track supervisor.
Go-karting is a fun sport, but like all things, there are risks and dangers. Following these tend safe driving tips will reduce the likelihood of injuries while kids are driving pedal go-karts.