How to Stay Safe While Riding a Motorbike in Phuket

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Riding a motorbike is one of the best ways to explore the beautiful island of Phuket. The winding coastal roads, hillside routes, and lush jungle paths offer incredible views and an unbeatable sense of freedom. However, road safety standards in Thailand are generally poor, so extra precautions are essential for staying safe on a motorbike in Phuket. Follow this guide to help ensure an incident-free motorbiking trip.

Wear Protective Gear

The number one rule is: always wear a helmet when riding a motorbike in Phuket. Head injuries are the most common motorbike accident outcome and helmets can prevent serious trauma and save lives. Select an undamaged, well-fitted full face helmet that meets safety standards. Gloves will also protect your hands from abrasions in a fall and closed shoes with decent ankle support further reduce injury risks. If planning longer rides, a jacket and pants made of durable material can prevent nasty road rash.

Take a Safety Course

Even experienced motorbike riders should consider taking a quick safety refresher course when renting and driving an unfamiliar bike in a new location. Many rental companies in Phuket offer complimentary lessons and tips upon request. A one-hour training will help adjust to left-hand driving, review road rules, learn basic maintenance checks, and gain confidence handling a heavier rental bike on uneven or unpaved roads. Understanding proper riding techniques can vastly improve safety.

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Inspect Your Rental Bike

Carefully inspect any rental motorbike in Phuket before use. Check for worn tires, functioning lights and signals, adequate brakes, mirrors, and no fluid leaks. Test drive the bike in a safe environment like a parking lot to ensure all systems work properly before hitting open roads. Don’t be afraid to ask for a different bike if something does not feel right. It is better to take time upfront confirming mechanical integrity rather than getting stuck with a faulty motorbike mid-journey.

Study Road Rules and Obey Signs

While traffic laws in Thailand are more loosely enforced, especially away from major cities, following basic road safety rules dramatically cuts risk. Stick to speed limits, allow extra distance for braking, use signals for turns and lane changes, and avoid reckless maneuvers. Be extra vigilant at intersections where accidents frequently occur. Also watch out for various road hazard signs indicating dangers from sharp curves to uneven pavement and adjust driving accordingly.

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Take Extreme Care on Rural Roads

While Phuket’s main highways are relatively modern, many interior rural roads have uneven surfaces, large potholes, loose gravel, sand, and other hazards. Hitting such dangers can easily lead to crashes, so reduce speed on questionable rural roads and stay alert. Bright sun also often combines with shaded patches to limit visibility of road challenges. Drive cautiously on any unknown rural paths, with readiness to slow or stop suddenly if needed. Trying to save a few minutes is not worth risking one’s safety.

Assume Other Drivers Won’t See You

When sharing the roads in Thailand, motorbikes and scooters must assume drivers of cars, trucks, and buses have not noticed your presence. Never linger in blind spots. Use horns and lights to maximize visibility if other vehicles start merging into your lane. Brace for suddenly stopped vehicles and unexpected U-turns. Drive defensively with focus and awareness. Also avoid alcohol and limit distractions from mobile devices to keep full attention on dynamic road situations.

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