Staying Safe on Your Hired Scooter in Thailand
Experiencing the beauty and adventure of Thailand from the back of a scooter is a fantastic way to see the country and it is highly recommended if you even have the slightest desire to do so. This being said, Thailand’s roads are a dangerous place, with the country having the second highest number of road fatalities in the world, but this should not put you off if you wish to see the country this way. Taking some sensible safety precautions and being very aware of other road users, there’s no reason why you should have any problems and be able to thoroughly enjoy your time in Thailand.
To be clear, it is a requirement that you hold an international or Thai driving license before you hire any kind of vehicle in Thailand. There is a fair chance that a less than reputable hire company may not ask for proof of your legal driving status, but this does not mean that they are liable. By agreeing to hire a vehicle you are taking legal responsibility for that vehicle, yourself and any passengers. The same is true of insuring your use of the vehicle, you need to have this arranged and in place before hiring a vehicle. Should you be stopped by the police, you will be completely culpable, not the hire company, and a Thai jail is not somewhere you want to end up.
Holiday or not, safety first
Being on holiday can do strange things to the way people see the world, this can mean that we act in ways we would never do at home and take risks that we would usually deem unacceptable. Don’t let yourself fall into this kind of behaviour, riding a scooter in Thailand is exactly the same as riding a scooter anywhere else in the world in so much as you should always wear a helmet and protective clothing. A crash helmet should always be essential when you are riding a scooter, especially given the increased risk of falling off of an unfamiliar vehicle on unfamiliar and often uneven roads. A helmet is an absolute minimum that you should have, full protective clothing is definitely recommended, exactly as you would at home because sliding along tarmac if you have fallen off of a moving scooter is like sliding along sandpaper. Even at 30mph, the rough road surface is capable of causing serious damage, but for every mile per hour above 30mph you stand to lose an millimeter of skin depth, so at 40mph, that is a centimeter of skin depth, and it i not likely you wish to end up in a hospital any more than a jail.
Ultimately, a scooter is a great way to see Thailand and one that comes highly recommended from almost everyone who has done so, but as with everything, exercising a little common sense and staying safe is vital to enjoying your holiday. Protective gear may not be fashionable and the heat can make it an unpleasant prospect, but if you wouldn’t go without protective clothing or drive while drunk at home, then there is no excuse for doing it on holiday.