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Phuket officials vow to crack down on operators renting bikes to unlicenced tourists

PHOTO: Flickr/thewoah

Phuket officials have (once again) vowed to crack down on motorbike renters who provide bikes to tourists who don’t have a valid licence. On Wednesday, provincial governor Narong Woonciew chaired a meeting attended by Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrabam and the head of the Phuket office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Udomporn Kan. Also present were the heads of other relevant government agencies.

The meeting was called in response to a growing number of tourists involved in road traffic accidents in which they are killed or injured while on the island. Officials discussed the ongoing issue of motorbike rental operators renting out bikes to tourists who don’t have a motorbike licence (either from Thailand or their home country).

But according to a The Phuket News report, there were no new suggestions other than a repeat of the promise to crack down on such offenders.

Representatives from the Phuket campus of the Prince of Songkhla University presented officials with data which showed an increasing number of accidents involving tourists on motorbikes, in which the tourists were killed or injured. The figures showed that in the previous 2 days, 4 people, including tourists, had been killed in road traffic accidents on the island, with motorbikes being the common factor.

However, at a meeting the day before, officials from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation confirmed that Phuket had reported no deaths during day 1 of the Seven Days of Danger road safety campaign.

The meeting ended with no concrete plans for any different approach to tackle the issue of motorbike rental operators handing out bikes to tourists who are not qualified to drive them. Instead, it was more of the same empty promises to ensure operators stop doing this.

“The province must have a way to solve problems by enforcing the law. Tourists who rent vehicles from rental operators must have a driver’s license. The province will set up a committee to come up with an action plan to solve the problem to see concrete results and be able to reduce accidents for both tourists and local residents.”

NOTE: If you are a foreigner, without a motorbike license and International Drivers Permit, or a Thailand motorbike license, DO NOT rent a motorbike in Thailand. 1) You will be fined at police checkpoints around the island 2) If you have an accident, your insurance policy will not pay for any stays or medical care at a local hospital.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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