Okay, let’s start off by saying this blog is about a mini scooter crash with no serious injuries or other vehicles involved. It actually happens a lot to tourists, usually caused by bad steering or bad(ly paved) roads. I can speak from experience here, since I was in one of those scooter crashes in Thailand too.
First and foremost, health is always the most important thing here. But when you only have some road rash and/or bruises, you have to think about the financial aspect of all this. It is very common to get ripped off and pay way too much money when something like this happens. So I have some tips & tricks.
First: what happened to me?
Me and my better half were on one scooter, on our way to Mango Bay on the tropical island of Koh Tao. It was the peak of the rainy season in Thailand, but we hadn’t experienced much of it yet (yay). However, the roads, which weren’t paved very well to begin with, were partly flushed away by nightly rain showers. The gaps had filled up with loose sand.
When we were almost at Mango Bay, the road went pretty steep downhill. We were going really really slow (like 5 miles / hour max.), but our front tyre got caught in one of those sandfilled gaps. That’s when we fell over. We were driving really slowly, but both got some pretty bad road rash because we were sort of thrown off the scooter.
In the end, the road rash was all we got. So no other victims, no other vehicles involved, no serious injuries like broken bones or anything like that. I think we may consider ourselves lucky here.
My tips when you are in a similar Thailand scooter crash
You have two factors to deal with: the road rash and the scooter, and if possible the locals will try to rip you off on both (not all of the locals will do this of course, but it sure happens a lot). So here are my tips:
Road rash? Don’t sprint to a doctor or hospital right away
There’s not much you can do about road rash. The thing is: the wounds need some proper cleaning and some bandages.
We were very lucky: the lovely lady from our hotel saw us coming back. We told her we were planning on seeing a doctor, but she told us not to. Her words:
“Doctors clean the wound and give you some bandages, and they will tell you to come back the next couple of days. Every day, they charge you big time”.
The nice lady told us not to worry, and to come to her. She cleaned and disinfected our road rash and gave us some bandages. Later that day we went to a pharmacy and got ourselves some bandages and supplies to disinfect the wounds.
Be prepared: the road rash heals very very slowly. The humidity and temperatures in Thailand are pretty bad for such wounds.
GoPro shot: on the back of the scooter. Even though I crashed once, it is still one of my reasons to visit Thailand. I love driving a scooter!
Tips when returning your scooter
When crashing the scooter, it may have caused some damage. When you return it to the rental shop, you probably have to pay big money for the damages. We had to pay around €200,- / $235,- for some scratches, because they had to “completely replace some parts of the body work”. Ridiculous of course, because that scooter will be rented out just as is.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m willing to pay when I broke something, but over 200 dollars for a couple of scratches is just insane.
Here are my tips.
Before you rented the vehicle, you hopefully made a video or a lot of photos to see whether it was already damaged a little beforehand. Now, follow these steps. These may involve a bit of lying acting:
- Before you return the vehicle, check for yourself if you see any new damage. If you see it, the rental shop will see it too. Don’t forget to take a towel and a bit of water, and “clean” some parts of the scooter that look damaged. Sometimes it’s just sand and dirt.
- Did you find damage? There’s no point in covering it up. So give the rental shop a plausible explanation about what could have caused it, but don’t mention a full on scooter crash. Think of an explanation before you return the scooter, for example: “The scooter fell over when I tried to get on it” or “The scooter was on its side when I got back from the restaurant”.
- The abovementioned strategy means you have to cover your road rash when you return the bike. If they don’t see road rash, and you don’t mention a scooter crash, chances are you will only have to pay a little bit or maybe even nothing at all.
If it is not possible to cover your complete road rash with clothing, at least try to make it look less serious. The less the rental shop owners sees or knows, the less you need to pay.