The Ring Gates are round metal gates embedded in walls. They have a thick yellow frame with red and white checker pattern on the sides, red and blue lights covering said checker patterns, and a video screen on top. Its opening consist of metallic siding doors with yellow and black hazard stripes on their top and bottom.
In gameplay, the Ring Gates are found on the racing courses. They are commonly encountered at the beginning of paths that are colored yellow on the Course Map. The Ring Gates' purpose is to block shortcuts around the tracks. Along those shortcuts, the player can find Sonic Tokens and Chaos Emeralds.
To open a Ring Gate, the player must collect a specific amount of Rings. Each Ring Gate requires its own amount of Rings (around between twenty to fifty), whose number is displayed on top of them. Upon approaching the Ring Gates with the required Rings, the Ring Gate will open, and the required Rings will be subtracted from the player's total.
Once opened, the Ring gates will stay open for the duration of the race. In addition, the paths they open up for can be used by other racers as well. Sometimes, the Ring Gate also activates other mechanisms, such as a submarine or chimney, from which a Chaos Emerald can pop out of.