The 48-year-old was at The Garage leisure complex in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, when it is understood her hair became caught in the engine of the kart she was riding.
She was taken to Crosshouse Hospital before being transferred to Glasgow's Southern General where she is being treated for serious head and neck injuries.
East Ayrshire Council is investigating the accident which happened on Wednesday evening.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "At 8.40pm we received a report that a 48-year-old woman had been injured while riding a go-kart at The Garage in Kilmarnock. The local authority is investigating."
No one from The Garage Entertainment Centre in Grange Street was available for comment.
The complex opened in 1994 and offers indoor karting, tenpin bowling and amusements.
A council spokesman said: "East Ayrshire Council is the health and safety enforcement authority for small businesses within the area. "Therefore, when the council was notified of this very serious incident, senior officers from Environmental Health services immediately conducted a full investigation of the site. "The officers are now preparing a report, which will set out the circumstances of the accident, for the Procurator Fiscal. "Our thoughts are with the lady who was injured in this serious accident and with her family at this very difficult time."