Reasons Go Kart Racing is Safer at K1 Speed
“Is Go Kart Racing Safe?”
So, you’ve decided that K1 Speed looks like a ton of fun, but you’re wondering “is go kart racing safe?” Don’t worry. At K1 Speed, karting safety is our number one priority over everything else.
Since our karts are much faster than what you’d find at a family fun center, we take every precaution we can to minimize risk of injury. In fact, safety is one of the things that really sets K1 Speed apart from most of the go kart tracks out there.
Here are six reasons go kart racing is safer at K1 Speed over other go kart racing establishments:
1. We Don’t Stop at Driver Heights
Before drivers roll out on track, we need to make sure they can operate our electric go karts safely. There’s two ways we do this:
- Measure heights. Junior racers need to be at least 48” (or 4-feet) tall, and to drive our adult karts, you’ll need to be at least 58” tall (4-feet, 10-inches). At each location, we have a height chart near our front desk. If the racers’ height isn’t obviously above the requirement, they will be asked to step up to the height chart to ensure they meet the requirement.
- Inspect seated racers. Now, just because a racer meets our height requirement, does not mean that they’re guaranteed to drive our karts. This is because sometimes height is more in a driver’s torso than legs. If this is the case, the driver may be tall enough, but their legs aren’t long enough to safely reach the pedals. We’ll make sure each driver can press both pedals down all the way without trouble. Drivers will also need to be able to comfortably reach the steering wheel and other controls before we allow them on track.
If, and only if, a driver satisfies BOTH requirements will we allow them to race. This may mean you or your child will not be able to race. We know it’s a bummer. But again, we take safety seriously and do not allow exceptions to these rules.
Do I have to Pay Before Finding out if my Child Can Race?
If your child meets the height requirement, but you’re unsure if they’re going to reach the pedals it’s okay! Just let our front desk know and our staff would be more than happy to let them sit in one of our karts before you spend a single penny. So if you have any doubts, just ask!
2. All Racers Wear DOT-Approved Full-Face Helmets
If you go karting at a family fun center, there’s a really good chance they won’t require you to wear any head protection whatsoever. Sure, you’re only going 5 or 7 miles per hour, but anything can happen in a moving vehicle. The bottom line is it’s dangerous – so don’t risk racing there!
At K1 Speed, wearing a helmet is mandatory, but not just any ol’ helmet lying around the garage. We require all racers wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet that provides full-face protection. This tends to be most motorcycle helmets. Helmets meant for auto racing are also allowed, as they pass a stricter safety inspection by the Snell Foundation.
What if I Don’t Own a Helmet?
Don’t own a helmet? No problem. Free helmet rentals are included in your annual membership. We’ll also provide you with a headsock for extra comfort and to serve as a hygienic barrier. All of our helmets are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
3. The Latest All-Electric Go Karts
We use Italian all-electric go karts that are the fastest in the industry. Our adult karts can travel up to 45mph, while our junior karts are capable at going around 20mph. All karts have instant torque which means as soon as you’ll get maximum power as soon as you step on the throttle.
But the rapid acceleration of our go karts isn’t the only advantage of our electric karts – they’re also one of the safest karts in the industry.
4-Point Seat Belt Harness
It’s important to wear your seat belt in any vehicle, but especially when racing go karts. There are many karting places out there that are simply pathetic when it comes to kart seat belt safety. Sometimes there’s just a simple lap seatbelt like something out of a car from the 1950s. In rare cases, there’s no seat belt at all!
Each of our karts has a 4-point harness, with straps over your shoulders that connect to a lap belt. This harness firmly keeps you in your seat, even when experiencing high G’s while cornering.
High Roll Bars / Low Center of Gravity
Having a high roll bar for your kart is critical if you want to race safe. Our roll bars are safe enough for someone up to 6’7” to ride in the kart without risk of the kart rolling over on them. Plus, our karts are plenty wide, and the center of gravity is firmly is in the middle of our karts, so a roll-over is virtually impossible at K1 Speed.
We’ve read horror stories about someone’s long hair getting caught in the exposed rear axle of a go kart at some family fun center track – trust us, the outcome isn’t pretty.
Our rear-axles are completely covered, so there’s zero risk of losing a scalp when you’re racing our vehicles.
Zero Risk of Burns
Gas-powered karts produce exhaust, which means hot exhaust pipes and other items that could potentially burn you should you enter/exit your kart incorrectly.
K1 Speed’s electric karts have zero exhaust, zero exposed hot parts. This means you can enjoy your racing without any risk of a burn injury.
Zero Noxious Fumes
Not only does gas-powered kart exhaust pose a burn risk, it also produces an incredible airborne risk as it spews out noxious fumes. In an hour, emissions from gas-powered karts can produce the equivalence of driving a typical car for 350 miles. You’ll breathe in benzene, formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and dioxide, particulate matters and more which hurts the ozone and threatens our health.
Not at K1 Speed. Zero emissions, zero health risk. And you won’t stink when you leave!
4. Electronically-Controlled Karts
All of our karts’ speed can be remotely controlled by our track master. This means if there is an accident or spin on the track, all karts on track can be slowed immediately to prevent any further accidents. Remote control also gives us the power to turn down the speed of an offending driver who is neglecting our rules or disobeying flags. If we feel a driver is posing a significant threat to other racers, they may even find their power cut completely before we eject them from the track.
We also don’t plunge our racers into the deep end of our kart’s speed right away. If this is the first time you’re racing with us, we start you on the second-to-highest speed so we can make sure you can handle that speed before we ramp things up to the highest. Trust us, for many, this second-to-highest speed can be too fast! Once we see a driver is racing cleanly for a race or two (not disobeying rules, not crashing/spinning, not bumping karts, etc.) we’ll give them the full beans.
5. State-of-the-Art Safety Barriers
This one’s big. When you go racing at some other place other than K1 Speed you’re going to see one of two types of barriers: old tires and a plastic band or huge plastic blocks. That was the best the karting industry could come up with after 50 years of racing. Shoot, we even used the huge plastic blocks back when it was the best protection you could find. But we didn’t settle, either. As soon as we found something better, we spent tons of money to swap them out at every K1 Speed center across the country. And now the new barriers are standard at every new location.
Introducing our Protex barriers. This patented barrier system has no sharp edges and is made of high-density polyethylene. This means it’s super flexible and almost unbreakable. They’re also connected to a shock-absorption mechanism that can be adjusted for specific areas of the track, ensuring the right amount of absorption is provided whether it’s the straight or a tight hairpin. Each mechanism is then anchored deep into the ground, ensuring the rail can maximize its impact absorption and significantly minimize the risk of damage to our karts and injury to its drivers. It’s specifically designed for indoor and outdoor karting use and is only used at the best karting places around the world, like K1 Speed and even Ferrari World.
6. Safety Briefing / Rules
Every new racer at K1 Speed has to go through a safety briefing before they even grab a helmet. This means a full rundown on how to drive our karts, what is not tolerated on our track, what the racing flags mean, and other critical information to ensure a safe experience during your race.
These are just 6 of the ways we make go kart racing safer. Our dedication to safety means the difference between a fun time with friends and family or a quick trip to the emergency room.
Use this information to be a better educated and more informed karting customer. Choose wisely when it comes to where you race go karts and don’t just settle for the place that features cheap gimmicks and too-good-to-be-true pricing. Chances are you’ll be paying for it in other ways down the line. We may not have the crazy multi-storied tracks, but we also don’t have the state safety investigations, either.
Race with confidence at K1 Speed.
Thinking about visiting us for the first time? Read our “Know Before You Go” blog by clicking here.