For most travelers one of many first things they do, when they get to Thailand for a vacation, is rent a motorcycle. Cheap, and easily accessible, they’re an effective way to have around and start to see the sights of the country. Many shops offer motorbikes for hire, for little higher than a couple of dollars a day. However, there are a few essential things you should think about before you decide to rent a motorbike in Thailand.
1. Maybe you have driven in Thailand before? For many individuals this really is the very first time in driving in an Asian country, such as Thailand. They’re unused to the trail rules, and too many people drive as they would at home. They’re unaware that dangers lurk around every corner. In Thailand it’s not uncommon to have traffic weaving in and out, or not to stop at traffic lights or junctions. It is normal to have traffic approach you on the wrong side of the trail, sometimes without any lights on. Undertaking (overtaking on the best hand side) while illegal in the UK, is common in Thailand. And, unfortunately, drink driving is just a common occurrence in the country and accounts for a sizable proportion the high death toll on the road.
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2. How experienced have you been on a motorbike? Many folks are novice motorcyclists, and some have never ridden before at all. This enables you to doubly vulnerable, not just because that you do not know how to deal with a cycle, but in addition because you are not experienced with driving in Thai traffic either. It pays to do a brief motorcycle proficiency course before you leave home, just so you know the basics. It might not allow you to if you hit a patch of sand on your way (a common reason behind lots of motorbike accidents in Thailand), as is driving too quickly, but it will enable you to be more confident and to ride to the conditions of the road.
3. Can be your motorbike roadworthy? Lots of the motorbike rentals aren’t in a roadworthy condition when they’re hired out. Unfortunately there’s little regard for maintenance, and if something goes wrong you could take serious trouble. Always perform a full check of the vehicle you are about to hire, before agreeing to rent it. Look carefully at the treat on the tires and check if the bike has enough oil in it. If the bike does incur any damage while you own it, you will be liable, and you will most likely have to pay an inflated rate for just about any repairs.
4. How good can be your helmet? Unfortunately the helmet law isn’t enforced in Thailand, and so many people don’t wear protective helmets when they’re driving their bikes. Rental companies will often hand you a cheap, thin, plastic helmet that will do nothing in case of an accident. Remember, your mind is quite fragile, and you are able to incur serious brain injuries in an accident, even at slow speeds. If you are renting a cycle, spend money on buying your own personal helmet. Make certain it’s DOT compliant, and done up tightly enough that in case of an accident it will not slip off. Lots of people die in bike accidents that might be prevented with the best protective headgear.
5. Have you been insured? Lots of people remove holiday insurance, but few realize that many companies don’t insure you if you should be in a motorbike accident. Read the small print and make sure that you are covered if you intend to rent a motorcycle as hospital bills may be expensive!
Don’t ruin your holiday by having an unnecessary motorbike accident. A lot of people end up in hospital consequently of hiring bikes in Thailand, and many wish they had just hired a taxi instead. If you are not used to driving a cycle, don’t make an effort to discover ways to drive in Thailand, learn at home.