Most people feel safe when wearing a seat belt, especially when traveling in a vehicle that operates at high speeds. We use them when we fly when we drive our cars or chasing an adrenaline rush on a rollercoaster; it provides a feeling of safety. When it comes to go karts, the feeling is not always mutual; for some, wearing a seat belt is the total opposite of feeling safe.
Do go karts have seat belts? If you are driving a fully framed kart with a roll cage, the answer is yes. If you drive an open or racing kart, many believe it is safer to be thrown out than being stuck in a crashing vehicle that offers no protection. Wearing a seat belt is a personal choice.
People tend to think that go karting is not a dangerous sport because of the generally small size of the carts. This is far from reality. Racing karts can reach speeds of up to 100 mph, and if you are wearing a seatbelt when the cart flips, you do not want to be attached to the car. The same goes for not wearing a seatbelt when flipping inside a roll bar and hitting the tarmac or dirt.
Can You Add Seat Belts To Go Karts?
Seat belts became mandatory in all cars in 1966; Congress passed them into law with the implementation of the National Traffic And Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This law would save thousands of lives in the decades that followed, also preventing many serious injuries from occurring.
A seat belt’s function is to keep you in your seat when your vehicle is involved in an accident; it is designed to offer more protection to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, ribs, shoulders, and spine area, to mention just a few. Overall, when involved in an accident, the main function is to keep the driver from smashing into the car’s interior, being flung out a window, and keeping the body in position so that the airbags will not seriously injure or kill them when deployed.
When it comes to go karts, the choice of having to wear a safety belt is totally up to the driver. Some race kart drivers choose not to wear seat belts; their argument is why would you strap yourself to something that does not protect you during a crash. These drivers feel that they would rather be thrown out of the car than be stuck to the bottom when flipping.
It is recommended that you should use a seat belt or harness when your kart is fitted with a roll cage or built with a full-frame. Without it, the cage becomes the element in an accident that will cause the most damage as you are being flung around.
When you take your family karting as an outing, it is advised that you use a go kart establishment that has seat belts fitted on their cars. They usually provide much slower go karts for family use; the chances of flipping a kart are very low. Children should always wear a seat belt or harness and a helmet.
If you are the type of kart driver that would prefer having a seat belt installed in your kart, you will be delighted to hear that it is indeed possible and easy. The wearing of a seat belt is not mandatory when it comes to go karts, so the owner has to decide if they want to add one. The following choices are available to you when fitting a seat belt or harness.
- 2-point seat belt (Attaches at 2 points – Belt covers the legs only)
- 3-point seat belt (Attaches at 3 points- Belt covers legs and sash belt covers chest area across one shoulder, in a Y design)
- 4-point harness (Attaches at 4 points- Belts covers both shoulders, legs and attaches to your midriff, in an H design)
- 5 and 6-point harnesses are also an option.
What Safety Equipment Is Recommended For Go Karting?
Whether you decide to install a seat belt or harness in your go kart, or prefer to ride without one, you need to invest in safety equipment nonetheless. The speed of the kart and the terrain that you will be using will ultimately determine the level of equipment that you will have to add.
If you love to usedirt tracks and bumpy outdoor courses, which leads to more flipping of karts, then having a roll cage and a seat belt are advisable. If the open kart is preferred, without a seat belt or harness, then you need to put as much protection on your body as possible.
When it comes to racing go karts, some can reach speeds up to 100 mph (super karts), then it is best to go with protection for the whole body. This is what you will need:
- Full face helmet
- Neck brace
- Racing balaclava
- Driving boots
- Chest protector
- Racing suit
Normally entry-level recreational go karts are designed to be much slower, ranging from 40-50 mph, as it is regarded as the safest and most controlled speed for a go kart. Obviously, when driving a moderately slow kart in a controlled environment, at a commercial go kart track, for example, you will not need to have all the above-listed items. A helmet, however, is non-negotiable for any motorsport.
What Safety Tips Are Helpful When It Comes To Go Karting?
Go karting is a motorsport, and prevention is better than cure. Here are some safety tips regarding go karts that could help prevent serious injury.
- Wear a helmet and neck brace: Bear in mind that12 percent of all injuries occur to the head and neck area
- Avoid baggy clothes and tie up long hair: Remove anything that dangles as this could get caught in a spinning axle or wheel; remember you are sitting close to all things mechanical.
- Always maintain all equipment and check them regularly: Have your kart regularly serviced, monitor the tires and inflate when needed, be wary of any fluids leaking underneath the engine
- Never have a passenger on your lap: Accidents happen, and when they do, there is no protection for the added passenger. They could be crushed into the steering wheel and suffer serious injuries.
- Well laid out driving areas: Always try to drive in wide-open areas with little to no obstructions (parked vehicles, spectators, trees)
- Install a roll cage: If you prefer driving on dirt tracks with uneven ground and bumps, and are used to flipping the car often, then rather install a roll cage with a seat belt to minimize injury
We have covered the question of go karts having seat belts. Here are some additional questions and information that could be helpful in understanding the world of go karts a little bit better.
At What Age Can You Start Go Karting?
It differs from country to country, state to state; the following guidelines will give you an idea.
- Age 5-7 classified as the Baby Karts division
- Age 7-12 classified as the Cadet Karts division
- Age 12-15 classified as the Junior Karts division
- Age 15+ classified as the Senior Karts division
When purchasing a go kart privately, you have the choice to add a seat belt, safety harness, or roll cage to your vehicle. Accidents will happen with or without a safety belt; the onus is on you to decide which option you are most comfortable with.
If you decide to install a roll cage, roll bar, or own a fully framed go kart, then it is advised to install a seat belt or safety harness for safety reasons. When racing in leagues or go kart divisions, they may or may not have rules that require a seat belt or safety harness in order toparticipate. This will largely depend on thecategory of the race or league.
When you rent a go kart at a commercial business, they will usually have seat belts or safety harnesses in place to cover themselves in case of injury. Roll bars and roll cages are often the norm when hiring a go kart.
Safety precautions should be your number one priority when driving a go kart. It is advised to follow recommendations from more experienced drivers when addressing safety issues. Make no mistake that this is a sport that has the potential to kill you.