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Phuket’s French consulate warned to ‘educate’ French tourists about motorbike rentals

Police ae seizing bikes of people that don't have a valid license for rental
PHOTO: Police ae seizing bikes from tourists that don't have a valid license for rental

Police have followed up the informal cavalcade of motorbikes, mostly ridden by French nationals on rented bikes in Patong along the beach road on Thursday night, by going straight to the source.

Legal proceedings are underway against the motorbike rental operators in Patong that permitted the drivers, without driving licences, to rent motorbikes. Usually, more than 90% of all motorbike rentals are to foreigners without a valid motorbike license leaving them exposed to medical and property loss costs if they’re involved in an accident.

Since the incident police have also embarked on a major crackdown on tourists riding around on motorbikes without a valid motorbike licence.

PHOTO: Patong Police

Then on Friday, the Conul General for France, in Phuket, held a meeting with the Patong Police and Tourist Police, following the arrest of 20 French motorbike racers the night before.

The Consul General received a letter “seeking cooperation” to publicise the requirements of Thai traffic laws, including the necessity of possessing a valid motorbike driving licence, to French nationals visiting Phuket and Thailand.

Following the meeting he said he will forward the letter to the French Ambassador in Thailand and request that they take steps to better educate tourists on the driving rules and regulations in Thailand.

Routinely, tourists will be able to rent a motorbike in Thailand by simply showing their passport (NEVER hand over your passport for copying – unless you keep an eye on the people copying it at all times – or as a ‘deposit’). By law people driving a motorbike in Thailand must have a valid motorbike license issued in Thailand or their home country. In the case of a foreign motorbike license, it must be accompanied with an International Drivers Permit.

A car driving license will not suffice. Failure to have a valid license will void any travel or health insurances should you be involved in a crash, leaving you liable for medical costs (for you and the people you may injure), any repairs, or replacement costs.

Seven French nationals were arrested and fined by Phuket police on Thursday night for disturbing the peace with their motorcycles along the beach road of Patong. Police say they had received numerous complaints from residents and motorists after the fleet of noisy bikes was cruising the streets of Patong and revving their engines, creating a loud noise and excessive exhaust. There were up to 100 people involved in the noisy cavalcade that was captured on various social media.

Superintendent of Patong police, Pol Col Suchin Nilbodi, says the arrests and fines “were necessary”, emphasising the “need for responsible road behaviour in Phuket”.

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