We all love the sense of excitement, relaxation and freedom that a holiday gives us, but there are certain activities that should not be encouraged, that carry more risk of an accident, including the hire of a moped! Many holiday tour companies do not actively advertise and encourage the hire of mopeds – this is because they account for a large number of accidents each year and in some cases, these accidents are fatal.
If you are thinking of hiring a moped abroad, be aware of the following and always think safety first.
Variable road conditions
Don’t expect road conditions to be the same as in the UK – in foreign countries road conditions vary considerably. Roads are maintained differently and you may find yourself on gravel or even dirt roads which can be treacherous. They may also have no drainage meaning that in heavy rain, conditions can reduce drastically in a couple of minutes making the road very unsafe.
Different driving rules and regulations
Other countries will have different rules and regulations – including the use of headlights, safety equipment and different road signs, not to mention you are likely to be riding on the other side of the road! The Police in your destination may also behave very differently and be much stricter than you expect.
Cultural attitude of drivers
Ever heard that the Italians like to lean on their horn? Or that Thai drivers rarely use their indicators? Culturally, different countries have vastly different attitudes to driving and therefore riding a moped might be even more difficult than you think.
Can you be sure that the hire company you rent from maintains their mopeds to a safe standard? Chances are, you aren’t a mechanic and although a moped might look in reasonable condition, it may have serious faults which have not been addressed and mean it is not road worthy.
Are you insured?
Have you checked that your holiday insurance will cover you in the event of an accident whilst riding a moped? Insurance companies will often exclude them from your policy due to the high risk factor and therefore you could face very expensive hospital bills if you do have an accident.
Learner drivers and riders
Many young Brits have their first experience of riding a moped when they are on holiday – this is not a wise move! Learning a skill such as this requires time and a sensible attitude; after all you wouldn’t jump into a car and just head straight out on the open road with no tuition. Hiring a moped and riding one for the first time when you are buoyed up by your mates, feeling under pressure to keep up with them and on unfamiliar roads is a very bad idea.
You’re on holiday – and enjoying a cold beer, cocktail or glass of wine can be part of your relaxation, but alcohol has the same effects whether you’re at home or abroad – in fact, the heat in hot climates might mean you drink more than you would at home! It goes without saying that you should never drink and drive. Alcohol and mopeds don’t mix – be wise and take a taxi instead!
In the UK, the majority of responsible bikers wear leathers – not something you are likely to pack in your luggage! At the very least, wear long trousers and long-sleeved tops and a correctly fitted helmet. If you fall at speed on asphalt or other road surfaces, it can leave you with very nasty injuries – literally peeling the skin from your body or worse.
Statistically tourists are three times more likely to be involved in an accident than locals, according to the Foreign Office.
Our advice is stay safe and be aware of the risks when hiring a moped.
At Freeclaim Solicitors, we have over 30 years’ experience in handling claims where people have been injured whilst on holiday. If your road accident has occurred in Europe, the procedure for making a claim is relatively straight forward, though you will need evidence to prove that someone else is at fault. For accidents that occur outside the EU, the process is more complex and therefore ensure you speak to experienced solicitors in this area. For free advice on making a claim, call 24 hours a day on 0800 612 7340.