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Go-kart firm fined after boy’s crash injuries

A go-karting business has been sentenced after a six-year-old boy was injured on a circuit in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, in 2016.

Go-kart firm fined after boy’s crash injuries

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC), which brought the prosecution, found Tyke Leisure (trading as Tyke Racing) ignored its own risk assessments that it had carried out the previous year after another six year old was seriously hurt.  

A court was told that in October 2016 the child was attending a “Cadet Drivers Club” training session at Tyke Racing. He crashed into a barrier on a hairpin bend towards the end of the 500 m circuit, hitting his head on the steering wheel and fracturing his wrist.

BMBC environmental health officer Stephen Butler found the electric go-kart the child was driving had a maximum speed of 40 kmph. Tyke Racing had not capped the vehicle’s top speed and he had been allowed to race in a “Grand Prix” style event despite having crashed in the previous lap. 

The child had not reduced his speed on approaching the sharp U-shaped bend. 

Evidence provided by the boy’s mother revealed he had collided with the barrier twice on his previous visit to the track, one in the same location and in similar circumstances to the crash that resulted in his injuries. 

Butler served a prohibition notice on Tyke Racing that prevented under eight year olds being allowed to race. 

The company previously had put control measures in place to stop children under eight from racing after a boy aged six sustained serious internal injuries in 2015. It also had updated its risk assessments and reduced the karts’ speed for inexperienced drivers.

However, Butler’s investigation found staff had ignored the new risk assessments. Tyke Racing had failed to implement guidance from the National Karting Association – a membership organisation for operators of UK-based karting companies, of which Tyke Racing had been a member since 2012.

Tyke Leisure pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £55,000 plus costs of almost £7,000 at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court. (See table below for how the District Judge applied the sentencing guidelines.)

The company’s website now states the children’s go-karts “are suitable for children aged eight and above with an inside leg measurement of 21 inches or above”, while the Cadet Driver Club is for eight to ten year olds only. 

How the judge applied the sentencing guidelines:



Seriousness of harm risked:

Level A

Likelihood of harm:


Harm category:


Size of the organisation:

Micro (lower end). Judge noted the company had made a loss for the previous three years, despite taking over the operation of another go-kart racing circuit near Worksop, Nottinghamshire


No previous convictions, remedial measures, self-reported, full co-operation with the council’s investigation, early guilty plea 

Financial penalty:

£55,000 plus £6,952 costs, £170 surcharge



Keeley Downey was the former assistant editor of IOSH Magazine. Previously she was editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine


  • Disgraceful that it's no

    Permalink Submitted by rob on 20 February 2019 - 12:33 am

    Disgraceful that it's now closed down.. It's go karting it comes with a risk and it's not their fault

    • It does come with a risk

      Permalink Submitted by on 14 April 2019 - 03:48 pm

      It does come with a risk but, that doesnt mean the duty holder does not have to reduce that risk to as low as is reasonably practicable and, clearly didnt

  • South Yorkshire has just

    Permalink Submitted by Dan on 15 May 2019 - 05:32 pm

    South Yorkshire has just a hand full of kart tracks, its a shame to see this one go! I've been trying to find out for ages what happened. This excessive fine must of caused the death of this great place. I used to be a track marshal for 4 years in Chesterfield, and if a kid couldn't handle the kart we used to chuck them off no problems. If the kid was in the "Cadets Drivers Club" He or she will have been taught about a good level of driving knowledge before they stepped into a kart, so its a real shame one kid completely forgot he/she had a brake pedal, kinda ruins it for the thousands of people every year wanting abit of fun.


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