Renting a motorbike on holiday is a rite of passage for many young Brits holidaying abroad, despite many having little experience on two-wheels.
In Thailand, high-powered mopeds can be hired for the equivalent of just a few pounds a day and inexperienced riders are often tossed the keys after proving little more than an ability to navigate a car park.
But an increase in serious accidents over the last year has prompted the Association of British Travel Agents to issue a warning: British travellers should not hire mopeds or quad bikes while travelling abroad.
So is the warning justified?
What Is The Advice?
The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) urged travellers to hire cars rather than mopeds and said quad bikes should only be used as part of organised tours.
Quad bikes are popular with tourists in places such as Cape Verde, Greece and Turkey.
“We’re advising holidaymakers who have little experience on mopeds to think twice before hiring these vehicles, and only ride quad bikes if they are part of a properly supervised off-road excursion,” Abta’s Nikki White said.
Why Has A Warning Been Issued?
UK travel companies reported 36 quad bike accidents and seven moped accidents in 2017, but Abta said the actual number of incidents was likely to be much higher.
The organisation said travellers ignoring their advice risked “serious injury” and judging by recent tragedies involving Brits on motorcycles abroad, the advice seems well worth considering.
Last month, Swindon teenager Kieran Roche was killed after crashing a quad bike while riding with friends in a small village outside Crete, Greece.
In December 2017 Ross Davidson, 23, had a leg amputated after a moped crash in Thailand. Two months earlier, a 25-year-old woman nearly died in a moped crash in Vietnam.
And in May of that year pregnant Briton Sophie Anderson was killed while riding a moped with her partner, Danny Glass, in Thailand.
What’s Causing The Accidents?
White said many holidaymakers who are involved in crashes have “little experience” of using the vehicles involved and are “unfamiliar with the local roads and driving standards”.
What Are The Other Risks Involved?
As well as risking serious injury, White said tourists face being hit with huge financial costs if they have accidents abroad as “many travel insurance policies” do not cover activities like quad biking.
The BBC cited the case of Lewis Evans as an example. The 18-year-old from Thornbury, near Bristol, suffered “devastating injuries” when he came off a quad bike on the Greek island of Zante in 2016.
His family later raised almost £30,000 to bring him home via air ambulance as his holiday insurance did not cover quad biking.