Riding a motorcycle in Thailand is an experience you'll never forget. You'll have to learn very quickly how to ride your motorcycle like residents in Thailand do. There are several steps you can take to safeguard yourself while you're enjoying Thailand's beautiful sites.
Rent a Safe Motorcycle
There are dozens of motorcycle rental shops around Thailand. Unfortunately, many of them are understaffed, or the staff they have are unskilled in motorcycle maintenance. Brake maintenance is usually one of the most neglected parts of the motorcycle, and your motorcycle's age will determine how effectively it can accelerate and stop. There are several criteria you should consider when you rent a motorcycle:
125cc Motorcycle - Foreigners tend to be larger and heavier than people from Thailand, so they need a bigger motorcycle with more power.
New or Older Motorcycle - Older motorcycles tend to use more fuel, and they also lack the acceleration power you need to avoid accidents.
Extended Mirrors - Make sure your motorcycle has extended mirrors, so you can see behind you easily and clearly.
Brakes - As this is one of the areas that workers tend to forget in routine maintenance, you want to test that your motorcycle's brakes are in excellent working condition.
Tyre Thickness - Thailand isn't known for its excellent road conditions. Having a thicker tyre will allow your bike to grip the different surfaces easier, and this reduces your risk of crashing.
Wear Proper Safety Gear
When you look at many motorcycle riders in Thailand, you'll notice that many of them don't wear helmets or safety gear. As Thailand has the second-highest accident rate in the world, and 73% of those accidents are on motorcycles, it is extremely important to wear the proper safety gear. You want to wear a helmet with face protection, including goggles, along with thick boots. You should wear leather gloves, pants, and a leather jacket to protect you from road rash if you crash.
Be Aware of Your Speed
It is very easy for people to travel at too high of speeds, especially when they're riding a motorised scooter. You never know when someone else may pull out in front of you unexpectedly. Don't be afraid to ask yourself, "If I were to crash at this speed, would I be okay?" If the answer is no, slow down. A motorcycle gives you the ability to slip in and out of cars quickly and easily, but you have to be cautious and travel at a comfortably safe pace.
Drive Close to the White Centre Line
When you're traveling on a two-lane road in most countries, you're supposed to ride on the left side of the lane. However, in Thailand, you want to stick close to the centre white line because people tend to pull out of side streets without looking. If you're sticking to the centre line, it gives you greater visibility, and you'll also have more time to react. You'll be able to look ahead for possible danger as well, and you'll be able to transition around cars smoothly.
You shouldn't drive close to the centre line if you're driving on a major freeway because it's rare that people will have the opportunity to come out of side streets unexpectedly, and you're traveling at a much higher rate of speed. Also, if you're in a narrow lane, don't drive by the centre line because you'll have minimal room to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Be Aware of Other Hazards
Painted Road Lines - When it rains and the painted road lines get wet, they get very slippery. You want to avoid them if possible or slow down if you travel over them.
Distractions - Many parts of Thailand are very beautiful, but this can be a distraction that could cause you to get in an accident if you pay more attention to the scenery than the road or the other drivers.
Gravel or Sand - Hitting a patch of loose gravel or sand can cause you to lose control of your motorcycle, which can cause it to skid. Avoid riding tight to the left shoulder of the road and pay attention to the road by parking lots as they tend to have a lot of sand and loose gravel.
Thailand is a beautiful tourist destination and using a motorcycle to get around is a very quick and cost-effective way to travel. However, there are several things you'll have to do to ensure you're safe while you're riding. The more precautions you take, the better off you'll be and the more you'll reduce your risk of an accident.