Phuket unlicensed foreign motorcyclists

One of the popular activities for tourists visiting the southern resort island of Phuket is to ride a motorcycle admiring the beautiful landscape. But the leisure pastime of unlicensed foreign motorcyclists sometimes scares local residents, with many accidents occurring.

This Canadian motorcyclist is showing her motorcycle license when asked by police. She is one of the rare licensed motorcyclists on Phuket island.

Riding a motorcycle is one of the top activities on Phuket for foreign tourists and expatriates. With many motorcycle rental shops, they can easily rent a motorcycle without having a license, as this is not strictly monitored by the authorities.
However, more than 500 motorcycle accidents were reported at Phuket's Katoo? district police station in 2007. Surprisingly, more than half of the accidents involved unlicensed foreign motorcyclists.

'About 60% of motorcycle accidents are from unlicensed foreign motorcyclists. But there are still a great number of unlicensed foreign motorcyclists that we can't check the exact number. We can count only when the accidents occur,' said Pol. Col. Kritsak Songmoonnak, Superintendent, Katoo Police Station.

Local residents also express their concern over the riding of some foreign motorcyclists, as their reckless riding damages the image of one of the world's top destinations. Some of the riders don't know Thai traffic rules. Many like to ride fast and adventurous, frightening local people and other foreign tourists seeking for a peaceful holiday.

'They always ride fast and crosscut other cars. I'm so scared I will crash one day,' said a local resident.

The Land Transportation Department on Phuket insists tourists and expatriates can ride motorcycles in the kingdom only when they possess a international motorcycle license or a Thai motorcycle license issued by the department.

They can get this by simply handing in their identification documents, work permit or an address guaranteed by the Thai Immigration Office. Then it's the written and practical tests.

Then application process is done in a day. With the motorcycle license in hand, the rider can enjoy a happy ride around in Phuket and anywhere in Thailand.

Tag: Motorcycle-License Riding Tourists Foreign-Papers Illegal Police Thailand
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Friday, 03 October 2008 @ 12:28 PM ICT
I know that I should have an international licence when visiting Phuket but just rely on my motorbike licence from overseas. I hope that I drive responsibly and probably easy because my country also drives on the left. I did study the road rules and traffic signs and in general are the same as the international standard. I did visit the licensing department in Phuket town and for interest I tested myself on their computer and passed with 27 out of 30.


Saturday, 04 October 2008 @ 10:57 PM ICT
Hi, did the police actually say how many accidents were the fault of the foreign tourist. I am a tourist in the north of Thailand, i have an international license. Unless it is a lot different in Phuket than here, it is not difficult to have an accident. Thai motorcyclists ride down the streets and highways on the wrong side of the road, as do some cars, when the traffic lights go green they immediately turn right across the oncoming traffic, again ,as do the cars, their speed is from 20km/h to very fast depending on your age, anywhere between 1 -5 on the bike, no helmet after dark...police no work, when coming out of a side street or driveway they never look, if they have a mirror on the bike it is mostly used to look at their face, when i asked a couple of friends how they got a license....the reply "i have a friend in the transport dept." Motorcyclists are fair game for cars here, it is normal to have to avoid a car coming down your side of the road while they pass another vehicle, they know you will move............or die. So to single out foreign riders is a bit rough, have a look at the burns on 50 percent or more of Thai legs and arms, motorcycle accidents. Having said that i have no doubt there are idiots farangs who do the wrong thing. Oh i forgot look out for dogs too!!