If you, like thousands of other tourists visiting Koh Samui, hire a motor cycle, read on.

If you are an inexperienced motorcyclist, think twice before hiring one. Although a drivers license and a crash helmet are legal requirements, very few road users have both. You will not be asked to produce a license when hiring a bike. It is also illegal to ride/drive whilst intoxicated.  

Use both brakes. Most new riders and almost all of the Thai's ignore the front brake. The only time you do not use the front brake is on loose road surfaces, sand etc. There is a lot of sand on Samui's roads, usually getting worse after rain. Be careful. Correct tyre pressures are important, they should be checked with a gauge. This seldom happens on Samui. Insist on the correct pressures. 

In the event of an accident you will have to pay for the damage to the hire bike. If it is going to be off the road for any length of time you may have to pay the owner compensation for loss of income. If involved in an accident caused by a Thai you have almost no claim to any type of damages, and it could end up costing you big money. The local Police are not a lot of help. Their thinking is, 'If you were not here it would not have happened.'

Do what you know is right. Just because someone else comes at you on the wrong side of the road with no lights on does not mean that you have to do the same.

So you think it's 'Cool' not to wear a crash helmet: Although most available helmets look as if they are made by 'Tupperware,' wear one. They are better than nothing. It may prevent you having some of your face scraped away, losing an ear, or worse. Your medical insurance WILL be VOID in the event of a bike accident that you have when you are not wearing a helmet. Private hospital treatment is expensive and limited.[there are 4 international hospitals on samui with some of the best care avaliable ] Being airlifted to a Bangkok hospital is even more expensive. Riding when not wearing a shirt is a common practise. Yes you want to show off that new tattoo, but is anybody but you really interested? You are likely to lose it anyway when you hit the road, and you will almost certainly end up with painful sunburn, accident or not. Cover up.

The roads are getting better, but some may still be poor and a moderate fall of rain could produce localised flooding. Beneath the water there could be dangerous potholes, broken road surfaces, sunken drain-covers, or drains with no covers at all. Follow in someone's tyre-tracks. Let them be your guide.

You may find some roads have no speed limits, but many do [50kms per hour]> Police enforcement has stepped up with drunk driving tests and there are helmet requirements. There are some speed cameras, and there are cameras on most major intersections on Samui.  


Here's how to stay strictly within the law if operating any vehicle (car or motorcycle) on Thai public roads - LINK

Be careful!