Mopeds and quadbikes are widely available to British tourists especially in Greece, Turkey and Thailand but the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is warning holidaymakers to only use quadbikes and mopeds if they are part of organised tours or excursions.
The warning comes after a string of serious accidents and fatalities.
In October 2017, a 25-year-old woman was seriously injured in Vietnam following a moped crash, a 23-year-old man from Ireland had to have his leg amputated after a moped crash in Thailand in December 2017 and last week a 19-year-old man died following a quad bike accident in Crete.
In 2017, 36 quad bike and 7 moped accidents were reported however ABTA believe this number is considerably higher. Those riding moped or quadbikes abroad should be aware, not only of the physical risk, but also the financial cost that accompanies an accident.
Travel insurance companies will only cover you to ride a moped abroad if you hold a UK driving licence which would allow you to ride an equivalent vehicle in the UK and they also stipulate a helmet must be worn at all times. This is regardless of the local or country laws of the area you are travelling to and what the hire company may tell you. This cover extends to medical expenses but will not cover personal or public liability, so holidaymakers should ensure they take out additional cover separately or with the hire company – without this additional cover you will be personally liable.
Unknown to most, very few travel insurance policies will offer cover for quad biking as standard, most policies we have found require you to pay an additional premium for an activity pack. Without the correct cover, any medical claim related to a quad bike or motor cycle incident is likely to be denied leaving you facing a hefty medical bill – an air ambulance home from Europe costs £30,000 alone, not including hospital bills.
As the peak of summer holiday season hits, Brits are being advised to opt for safer modes of transport such as cars or public transport when abroad. Those who ignore ABTA’s advice will be putting themselves at serious risk.
Many holiday destinations will offer quad biking excursions or tours which can either be pre-booked or paid on arrival. If you are planning on participating in this activity, here are our top tips:
1. Wear appropriate clothing, this includes footwear. In the event of a quad biking accident exposed skin will suffer not only severe abrasions but also if all the gravel is not removed efficiently the risk of sepsis is high. Sepsis is a skin disease which can lead to the need for an amputation.
2. Ensure the excursion company is reputable and fully licensed. In many countries, street vendors pose as tour operators and whilst this is not illegal in all countries, the majority do not have the correct personal or public liability insurance which could mean if you are involved in an accident, no compensation will be available.
3. Stick to assigned routes and do not head ‘off the beaten track’. As tempting as it may be to head off track and explore the surroundings, always ensure you are staying on designated quad bike tracks which have been designed to withstand the impact from quadbikes.
4. If you do plan on taking part in quad biking, make sure you have the appropriate travel insurance cover. There are some travel insurers that will allow you to add activities to the policy on an adhoc basis, so if you are the spontaneous type this may be something to look out for.