MANY TOURISTS DIE IN THAILAND EVERY YEAR BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WEAR A HELMENT WHILE RIDING A MOTORBIKE – Due to the high number of road deaths in Thailand, of both tourists and Thai citizens, the Thai Government began running a ‘100% Helmet’ campaign in order to get people to wear a helmet whilst driving motobikes.
WARNING: BELOW ARE EXTREME GRAPHICS OF MOTORBIKE ACCIDENTS IN THAILAND – YOU WILL NEED A STRONG DISPOSITION TO VIEW THESE – PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
Last year Thai officials in many high profile tourist destinations, such as Phuket, Samui and Krabi, stopped recording the deaths of tourist, regardless of the cause, in what is seen as an attempt to cover up the disturbing number of tourist deaths.
With tourism declining the authorities simply do not want potential tourists to know the dangers for fear of putting them off coming to Thailand and spending money.
Many tourists are not aware that it is illegal to drive a motorbike in Thailand without wearing a helmet. This comes as no surprise when tourists see Thais flying around on their motorbikes, often with young children and even babies onboard, without wearing a helmet.
The Royal Thai Police have a tendency to set up ‘checkpoints’ at key areas in order to stop offenders but if you ever witness the act it soon becomes clear that the Thai police are not interested in their citizens but rather the tourists.
At first glance it could be perceived that the Thai police simply take the attitude that Thais ought to know better and those foreigners need stopping so that they can inform them that it is in fact an offense.
Unfortunately the true nature of the act is all about money. Thai police set up ‘checkpoints’ with the sole purpose of collecting money that goes directly in their pockets. It is fruitless to stop a Thai and ask for money considering most of them are poor; however the Thai police are fully aware that foreigners are more than capable of paying up to US$20 and therefore the practice is a lucrative one.
The first thing a tourist must understand is that policing in Thailand is not the same as you would expect to find back home. The Royal Thai Police are extremely corrupt and the idea of actual policing always takes a back seat when it comes to finding easy ways to extract cash from unsuspecting tourists.
Ask any bar owner in Thailand and if they are honest they will openly tell you that the Thai police turn up once a month to collect their protection payment.
Checkpoints are a daily occurrence and during the high season the police target high-profile tourist areas and rake in the cash.
It is highly unlikely that anyone will ever get pulled over by the police, except at a checkpoint. Most tourists find they can happily sail past a police car or motorbike without even being glanced at for not wearing a helmet.
The underlying truth is that the police do not care about tourist safety and the emphasis is simply on how much money can be extracted and the checkpoint scam is one of the easiest and most convenient methods.
It could be argued that the checkpoints do offer an incentive, other than making money for the Thai police. Most tourists, once fined, are likely to ensure they wear a helmet to avoid further fines.
Moving away from the obvious corruption and officials covering up the number of tourists’ deaths it is imperative that anyone visiting Thailand must wear a helmet when riding a motorbike. Thai roads are notoriously dangerous and the style of Thai driving is reckless to say the least.
Remember if you are visiting Thailand and you are riding a motorbike make sure you put on your helmet – it could well save your life. The following horrific pictures below should give you enough of an incentive.
I won’t apologise for the graphic nature of the images above as people need to see the realities of NOT wearing a helmet and the dangers of driving a motorbike in Thailand.
Have you ever been involved in an accident in Thailand? Please leave your comments below or report your story to our editor.