Motorbikes and scooters are a common means of transportation in Thailand. Unfortunately, they also carry a serious risk of injury. Here are some guidelines from the doctors at Bangkok Hospital Siriroj’s Emergency Center on how to stay safe.
- Think twice before taking a motorbike taxi, especially in high-traffic areas. Thailand is famous for its congested roads and traffic jams. While it may be tempting to weave between cars on a motorbike taxi, remember that this is not the safest mode of transportation.
- Do not drink and drive. This should go without saying, but never drive a motorcycle if you have been drinking alcohol. If you suspect a motorbike taxi driver may be intoxicated, do not ride with him.
- Never drive a scooter if you do not know what you are doing. Many first-time visitors to Phuket want to try their hand at driving a scooter. While it does not require a license to do so, a large number of these inexperienced drivers end up in the hospital with serious injuries. If you wouldn’t drive a motorbike in your home country, now is not a good time to start.
- If you are on a scooter, always yield to oncoming cars. Drive carefully and respectfully, making sure to stay out of the way of oncoming traffic.
- Follow the rules of the road and do not speed. Driving beyond the speed limit is never advisable, but it is especially dangerous on a scooter. Slowing down might mean it takes you a little longer to reach your destination, but it will take less time than a visit to the emergency room.
- Always, always, always wear a helmet. This is the law in Thailand and police officers do check. A helmet could save your life or prevent a serious concussion. There is no excuse for not wearing one.
- Watch out for burns. The exhaust pipe on a scooter can get hot enough to burn your leg. Opt for newer scooter models where there metal pipe is covered and be very careful.
- Never try to fit too many people or bags onto a single scooter. It might be tempting to squeeze on an extra suitcase or passenger, but if your scooter swerves suddenly, this could throw off the vehicle’s balance.
- If you or someone you know has been in a motorbike accident, go immediately to the emergency room. Motorcycle accidents are often serious and require immediate medical intervention.