A Guide to Hiring a Bike in Thailand Safely and Appropriately
Hiring a scooter in Thailand is a great way of enriching the overall experience and affording you total freedom to explore your surroundings in a fun and efficient way, at your own leisure. That being said, it’s important to take precautions when you do so, as opposed to rushing in with the first company that you come across.
1 – A Website is a Good Sign
First of all, we would advise that you head online and search for a few of your nearest bike rental shops. A scooter rental company with a website is evidently going to be better established and ultimately more reliable.
That’s not to say that a stall with a couple of scooters on one of the islands isn’t going to be safe or reliable, but for your own peace of mind look for someone online who might have some more information and potentially, a few testimonials from other travellers.
2 – Insurance
Ride a scooter without insurance at your own risk, though most reputable and reliable companies will certainly offer it. If you encounter a scooter hire company and they insist “mai-pen-rai” (no worries), then it might be worth going further a field and finding another company that offers this option.
3 – Variety and Quality
A company with plenty of variety is a clear sign that they are well-established and have been operating for quite some time. You can also learn a lot about a company based on the condition in which their bikes are kept. Be wary of a company whose bikes look incredibly shabby and un-kempt. You have to ask, how well they have been maintained mechanically if their bikes look as though they have never been cleaned! The last thing you want is to be out on the road on a scooter which is entirely unsafe to ride!
4 – Inspection Before Setting Off
Before getting on a bike and riding it away you must always run some checks yourself. Above all, we must insist that you take photographs of the condition of the bike in the beginning. This is to protect you from any cowboys trying to pin some damage on you which was already there in order to try and get some more money out of you. Of course, this won’t be a problem with a reputable and reliable firm, however that’s not to say that it doesn’t occur.
- Next, sit on the bike and bounce up on down to test the quality of the suspension.
- Adjust the mirrors properly so that you can see what is happening behind you (if they are rigid, insist that you have another bike where you can see what is happening on the roads)
- Ride the bike, testing for overall comfort, that the breaks are in working order and that it accelerates properly.
- Ensure that your tyres are thick enough. If you can see a bike with thicker tyres it might be worth opting for that to be on the safe side.
- Wear a helmet! Particularly if you’ve got someone on the bike with you, you should both be adequately protected, no matter how ‘uncool’ you look. You’ll look significantly less cool if you find yourself in an accident without protection.
5 – Take Your Time
Besides not rushing to get onto the roads, once you’re on them, be careful. You don’t have to be riding around like a madman! Take your time and enjoy the view. The last thing you need is to have an accident when you’ve only just touched down in Thailand and have yet to start enjoying yourself. Be careful, don’t take any unnecessary risks and you shouldn’t run into any problems at all!