Helmets – Part of the Safety Equation When Go Karting

With the advent of the automobile and the motorcycle and even sports such as football the helmet has emerged as a safety device to protect obviously the whole head and a brain there-with encased.

With the advent of safety legislation which started to occur in the late 60s and early 70s we as a people advised to legislate our safety. What I mean by legislation is that we write a law punishment people who do not protect themselves when they are doing risky behavior such as riding motorcycles or wearing seat belts in a car. The idea behind that is that they are encouraging people to protect themselves.

To me the seat belt and the helmet are good ideas (actually great ideas) but legislating them into use is not, in my opinion, the smartest thing or the most effective way to get people to protect themselves.

That seat seat belts and helmets are by themselves just tools designed to protect the body from becoming damaged during a collision incident. As far as go carts are concerned helmets are a good idea. There are problems with helmets, however, especially with open face helmets in that they only protect the head.

There are also different versions of helmets the most unprotected version being the open faced helmet. The open face helmet, having a downside in that face can actually get smashed or damaged during a collision. My recommendation is a helmet that is fully enclosed.

If we are talking about helmets you might as well have other safety equipment as well. The safety equipment I am talking about are: seat belts, roll cages, gloves, go kart suit, special shoes, Hans device, rib protectors, and special cushioning in impact areas.

The helmet is only one component to the safety equipment package, from a go karting perspective. Racing go carts for example are lightweight and designed to not hold the driver in the go kart. The go kart is designed to separate from the driver so that the relative inertial masses reduce and the speed of the driver and the go kart slow down quicker. The downside to this separation is that the go kart can actually hit the driver, or the driver can be pinned underneath the go kart during the tumble.

Racing go carters understand this and there before have padding and have it taken into account the way to the drive the go cart in order to keep the risks lower. Also the relative speed of the go cart has to be taken into consideration because the higher the speed, the higher the impact, the higher the risk of serious injury.

If you are considering taking up go karting or four wheeling or any other motor sport having adequate safety equipment is a smart idea. Having grown up in a household with a doctor, I was hidden to ride motorcycles, snowmobiles, four wheelers, and obviously go carts were discouraged. I was shocked however when my father, a doctor was considering buying a motorcycle. And he told me about the injuries that he had seen in the emergency room and how if they had worn simple safety equipment the injuries would have been much less.

I remember the simple injury of not wearing shoes while riding a bike. One of our neighbors had lost the bottom of this foot in the spokesof the wheel. My dad had to sew the bottom of this foot back on and we were told obviously, that wearing shoes was a requirement for riding a bike. Additional safety equipment being used for motorcycles in his opinion was leather, heavy boots, heavy gloves, and a helmet (a full enclosed helmet).

His reason for the heavy leather, heavy boots, fully enclosed helmet, was a survivability of the accident. What he had seen was motorcycle riders who had been flung off the motorcycle and had skated along the road. We have all heard the term road rash, road rash can be reduced drastically, by wearing heavy leather or heavy clothing.

The heavy clothing, similar to a fully enclosed helmet, wears down on their pavement or acts as a insulator or shield from the ground. The simple graphic of a belt sander wearing away wood is sufficient to get the point across.

Helmets have a twofold function, 1. (It shields the head from an impact, 2.) It keeps her head shielded from abrasive injury. And finally, a helmet can actually act as an enemy especially in high speed collisions.

We are all familiar with the high-speed crash of Dale Ernhardt. What occurred in that collision is that car suddenly stopped, but his helmet did not. To be more accurate his helmet and his head did not stop and so his head actually tried to separate from his neck. The Hans device however is designed to hold back the helmet and ahead from accelerating forward with such force that actually can sever the head. It is also designed for whiplash, and side-lash and helps support the head from a rear collision and side collision inertial effects.

The grim reality of helmets and the reason for seatbelts and safety equipment needs to be understood. Go karts need to be driven accordingly.

– You can not be reckless
– You can not go over jumps
– You can not purposefully roll your go kart, and expect to actually get out of the situation without being harmed.

Helmets can not save you from stupidity.

We tried to legislate safety and we try to legislate good behavior by what it really brings down to is it requires us as individuals to be smart and responsible about what we do and how we act. Helmets are just a smart thing to do.