I feel I have to write about the over the top amount of motorcycle accidents here on KC (Koh Chang).
Without a doubt using a motorcycle here on KC is the best means of transport. They are good fun, but please do not forget, they are f**cking dangerous!
Motor bikes are dangerous, period! I Know, I used to race bikes at home and run very fast sports bikes on the road. Motor bikes are dangerous because………….. well……… erm…………. you can fall of them! No shit! you can!
Falling of a motor bike here in Thailand hurts even more then falling of them in my home country. This is mostly down to the lack of 2 piece, armored plated leathers, leather race boots, leather gloves and good quality helmet. I would never dream of going on by bike back home with out all that lot on, but it is just way too hot here to wear all of that except the helmet!
You can spot many a person here wearing the Koh Chang tattoo, it is normally accompanied by a limp or if you see a fresh one maybe some bandages. The Koh Chang tattoo is not your traditional ink tattoo, it is in fact a gravel rash. A painful red, inflamed, possibly infected, gravel encrusted gravel rash.
People say the Koh Chang tattoo is free. Let me inform you this is in most case’s a load of pants. Unless you are insured, which most are not. (Most travel insurance does not cover you to ride a motorbike over 50cc) Hospital here is a very expensive place to stay. The Bangkok/Trat hospital charges 9,000 baht (190 pound sterling) per room per night. That is just for the room! The doctors, nurse’s, x-ray’s, any medication, bandages, dentist, stitch’s, ambulance, prosthetic limbs, medivac to your home country are all additional costs!
At an additional cost, is the repair of your hired bike. When you rent a bike here, it is normal to give the rental shop your passport as deposit for the bike. You are now sitting in the palms of there hands. You’ve crashed their bike, your moving on, you need your passport but Mr Rental man has it. He can now ask however much he wants for the repair of his bike. It not uncommon to be asked 5,000 baht for a 500 baht repair, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Try smiling maybe, and be very nice.
There are many danger’s here on the road, deep water, stray dogs, pissed people on other motor bikes (do not let yourself be one of these), elephants, grit, oil, snakes, road subsidence, rocks, kids playing, other people who have just no road sense what so ever, some people who just cannot ride a motor bike………………. the list goes on. When riding a bike here, always expect the unexpected in the road. These are some of the most dangerous roads in the world!
When you rent a motor bike here, make sure it is safe, take it for a test ride first. Most importantly do the brakes work well? When coming down a very steep, curvy mountain road, with the unexpected laying in the middle of the road with your pillion on board you really really need them brakes, believe.
Also when you rent a bike here, it comes with a helmet, possibly 2. Believe it or not, this goes on your head as some kind of protection during an accident. It is not some kind of fashion accessory to be hung of your rear grab rail. In side your head is a jelly like, very soft precious substance called your brain. When you break your brain it is a serious accident! You can live with one leg, one arm, spline removed, no teeth, gonads removed, broken limbs, broken ribs etc, but a broken brain really makes life difficult!
While talking about helmets, Mr Thai Police Man, would also advise you to wear your helmet, along with a 200 baht fine. This fine is soon to go up too 500 baht! So be warned, please wear your helmet. You will never see me ride my bike with out my full face AGV helmet, even in sweltering conditions.
The other big problem here concerning bike accidents is drink driving. Now, I cannot say I have never ridden my bike with a few beers on board. It is almost expected here to drink and drive. But let’s be sensible about this. OK OK OK, driving after one or 2 beers is not clever, but driving when driving is the only option because you cannot walk is just plain stupid, and selfish due to the harm you cause others.
Even if the harm is just physiological. Imagine the scenario, Mrs Mortified, a single mother is walking down the street with little Miss Mortified, her 8 year old daughter beside her. Here comes you on your bike, pissed, swerving around a blind bend, ooops, guess you didn’t see that truck with no lights on coming towards you? The Mortified’s did, and they saw you, they saw you go under the front of the light-less truck, sparks underneath it, then what appeared to be a liberal scrapping of giblets, bone, blood and metal come out from under the back of the truck!
The Mortifieds’ will remember this holiday of a life time forever!
Then of course, someone is going to have to tell your partner and parents, and how in turn will all parties there feel?
Do not get me wrong, I love bikes, it’s my hobby, I have 4 modified bikes at the moment. I just want people, to wear there helmets, drive with thought & care and stay safe.
Accidents happen far to often here. As I write this I have one of my customers in Bangkok/Trat hospital. Matt has been in a coma for 12 days so far. They are going to fly home next week.
Chock Dee Matt, I truly hope you make a speedy and full recovery!