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MOTORCYCLES - SCOOTERS - MOPEDS

The only documents a motorcycle rental company will uniformly insist on is CASH MONEY.

They will have little, or no interest in licences, international driving permits, or your current level of intoxication.

LICENCES and PERMITS

To ride a motorcycle in Thailand, and remain strictly within the law, you must possess and produce:

  • A national motorcycle drivers licence issued in your home country, valid for a motorcycle AND,
  • An International Driving Permit, unless your home license is in already in English and has a photo.

Note: A Thai driver's license is vaild for rental, but they are not issued to tourists. To obtain a Thai drivers license requires a formal in-person application, as well as hold and be admitted to Thailand on a non-immigrant visa status.

GENERAL INFORMATION and ADVICE

Motorcycles can be a fun way to move around the Kingdom independently, but remember road accidents are common.

The rate of accidents and fatalities on Thai roads is HORRENDOUS, in fact 40 people a day DIE in Thailand from motorcycle accidents alone. Many more visitors and locals are permanently disfigured or disabled, so it is not recommended for the novice.

  • You must carry your National Licence, in case of an accident, or interaction with the Thai Police.
  • You can not drive intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
  • Helmets are mandatory. You must wear one, and so must a pillion passenger.
  • Helmets are usually provided as part of the rental, if so, make sure it fits properly or ask for another.
  • Failure to wear a helmet will bring you to the attention of Police - you will be fined at best.
  • Wear protective footwear and clothing to give you some protection should the worst happen.
  • The motorcycle MUST have a tax sticker, registration plates, vehicle registration book, and third party insurance.
  • Motorcycle hire services are available almost everywhere, with rates from 150฿ per day.
  • A cash security deposit of around 1000฿ (ensure you get a receipt) is often required.
  • Only use reputable hire companies, and check that they are licenced to hire bikes to tourists.
  • Before accepting your rental, do an extensive walk-around visual inspection of the vehicle.
  • Note ALL defects or pre-existing damage with the vendor, BEFORE you accept the contract, and leave the premises.
  • Take photos from all angles of the rental before you leave, to protect yourself should there be any dispute about damage later on.
  • It is NOT ADVISABLE to surrender your PASSPORT to the rental agency as rental return security.
  • Have a passport photocopy on hand instead, to satisfy the hire company.
  • If a hire company insists on having your original passport, hire from someone else.
  • Obey all Thai traffic rules and signs, remain vigilant and always drive defensively.
  • Driving at night is considered to be particularly dangerous.
  • Motorcycles in Thailand are routinely operated by children as young as 12, so you must remain vigilant and always drive defensively.
  • If you don't ride a motorcycle in your own country, Thailand is NOT the place to learn.
  • Vendors will happily hire you a motorcycle whether you have the appropriate permit and licence or not.
  • If you were involved in an accident, with property damage or personal injury to any party, be aware that if the Thai Police and/or Insurance Company discover that licencing and permit documents are not in order, you may feel the full force of the law, and may have any insurance cover invalidated. You may also be required by the Thai authorities, to post a LARGE cash bail amount to cover any liability you may incur.

Information on what to do when you have a road traffic accident

who to call and how to fill in the accident report document for insurance after a car crash…

For foreigners, driving in Thailand can sometimes be very different to their home country. Motorbikes frequently drive on the wrong side of the road and cars do not always respect Thai road rules. Those new to the country will need to take great care to avoid accidents.

If an accident does occur, try to remain calm. Arguing with the other driver can make things worse and any pushing and shoving will result in police fines.

  • Thailand emergency number - Tel: 191

Minor Vehicle Accidents

Use the following as a guide on what to do in the case of a minor accident (that is, where no one is seriously injured):

  • Do not move vehicles involved; they should be left where they ended up after the accident unless they represent a major traffic hazard or a signed agreement is made as to whose fault the accident is. It is always better to wait for the police and/or insurance company to arrive before moving the car otherwise insurance claims may be a problem
  • Call or get someone to call for an ambulance (if necessary)
  • Call or get someone to call the police
  • Call 191 or contact the tourist police on 1155 for English-speaking assistance

Usually, an incident report will need to be completed at the local police station.

  • Ask the other drivers involved for all their details: ID card, driver's licence, vehicle registration book (Lem Tabian) and insurance papers, and take down the vehicle's registration number
  • Provide the same information to other drivers: ID card/passport, driver's licence, vehicle registration book (Lem Tabian), insurance papers and registration number of the vehicle
  • Telephone the insurance company and ask their assistance. They will usually want to attend the accident to collect all the relevant information to process the claim

There is no standard accident report form, but insurance companies will generally provide a form when insurance is purchased. Individual insurance companies have their own time limits for how soon after an accident the paperwork must be submitted.

Note: Beware of people who ask for financial compensation when involved in an accident. This is not a legal requirement but may be a quick and easy way to finalise everything, however there is always a risk of their insurance company still processing a claim later.

Serious Car Accidents

Ensuring people's safety is the most important aspect of a serious car accident. Call the emergency services: Call 191 or contact the tourist police on 1155 for English-speaking assistance.

When involved in a serious accident use the following as a guide:

  • Check and care for any injured persons and apply basic first aid if necessary (if you are trained). Call or get someone to call for an ambulance
  • Have all uninjured persons move off the road to a safe place
  • Call or get someone to call the police by calling 191 and have police, tourist police 1155 and ambulance attend the accident
  • Do notmove the vehicles involved, no matter how bad the traffic is
  • After emergency services arrive and any injured persons have been taken care of, ask other drivers for all their details: ID card, vehicle registration book (Lem Tabian), driver's licence and insurance papers as well as the vehicle's registration number
  • Provide the same information to other drivers: ID card/passport, driver's licence, vehicle registration book (Lem Tabian), insurance papers and registration number of the vehicle
  • Telephone the insurance company and ask for their assistance. They will send someone to the accident site to get all the relevant information to process the claim, although if it is in a remote area this may take some time
  • If the vehicle is insured abroad, make sure all details of what to do in the event of an accident are included in the policy
  • There is no standard Accident Report Form, but insurance companies generally provide a form when insurance is purchased. Individual insurance companies also have individual time limits for how soon after an accident it must be reported

Note: It is very important to check and understand an insurance company's procedures in the case of an accident such as who to call and how to proceed. Find this out when taking out the insurance.

QUAD-BIKES

If you hire a quad-bike, check first that your travel insurance allows its use.

Only hire from a reputable company and check first that it has a tax sticker, registration plates, a vehicle registration book, and third party insurance before riding these contraptions on the public roads.

LARGER MOTORCYCLES

Many standard travel insurance policy providers restrict the size of motorcycles which can be hired or ridden to less than 200cc.

Check your own policy closely before hiring LARGE motorcycles which exceed 200cc.

POLICE

If you are stopped by the Thai Police for any reason, stay calm, and be respectful.

If you have been obeying the road rules, are not intoxicated, and hold the proper documentation, you will have NO problem and will be sent on your way. 

Thailand Volunteer! - by The Mirror Foundation