For the passionate motorcycle enthusiast, there is no better way to explore a new country than on two wheels with the wind in your hair. While it comes with some restrictions, riding a motorcycle is also more economical and can sometimes be a more convenient mode of transport.
On the other hand, motorcycle accidents may cause serious injuries as there is little protection for the rider. A basic travel insurance may not help protect you in the event of an accident if you get hurt, so a rental motorbike insurance will have to be taken up.
Whether you are renting a motorbike on the coast of Spain or for a road trip in Thailand, there are several things you need to consider. Here are a few guidelines to help you:
Get an International Driver’s License
Assuming you already have a motorbike license in your home country, the International Driver‘s permit will be accepted in other countries as well. Of course, the class of the bike license will have to coincide with the type of motorcycle you intend to rent. Although many countries in South East Asia may not require a bike license for rental, it’s always safer to do so. You might encounter other problems along the way if you ride without one.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
One of the first things to do when you rent a motorcycle is to check with the rental company to see what sort of insurance coverage you will receive as part of the rental. Many countries in Southeast Asia may not provide one if you rent for a small shop. It’s best to rent from a reputable company.
If there is no insurance coverage provided with the rental, it may be worth checking to see if your motorcycle insurance policy at home provides some sort of coverage when you travel internationally. For instance, DirectAsia provides coverage for motorcyclists who ride their own bike overseas up to these limits – where your motorcycle is registered in Singapore and is being driven in Singapore, West Malaysia (including Penang and the other Malaysian islands offshore of West Malaysia) and Southern Thailand (being that part of Thailand which is within 80 kilometres of the border between Southern Thailand and West Malaysia).
Riding a motorcycle in a different country is exhilarating, but it is important to have some form of insurance in place in case the different driving habits or roads overseas do catch you out.
Inspect your rental bike thoroughly
Make sure everything is working well – lights, brakes… etc. Take photos of the rental motorbike and make sure you document any damage or scratches. This is not only for your safety, but also any possible charges you may incur when you return it.
Always keep your passport with you
Most rental shops will ask you for some kind of identification; never leave your passport at the rental place. If the shop asks for your passport as collateral, don’t give it to them. If you do, your passport may be held hostage due to any real or imagined bike damage.
Wear a helmet
Even if it looks like many motorcyclists are not wearing a helmet where you are riding, you will always be safer riding with one.
Keep your rental bike safe
Always lock the bike whenever you move away from your bike and take your helmet with you. The last thing you need is to have your rental stolen because you left the key in it or didn’t lock the wheel. Park it somewhere visible as well.
Riding a bike as part of your holiday plan can change the way you enjoy your trip, especially in countries where bikes are the preferred mode of transport. In light of the different road rules, always remember to have an insurance coverage to ensure you stay safe throughout your trip!