I Crashed a Scooter in Thailand

I crashed a scooter in Thailand

So I am now part of that statistic of western tourist that come to Thailand and crashes a scooter. I know, cliche right? Ugh.

Hundreds of western tourist come to Thailand every year, rent a scooter, and have some kind of accident. There are all kinds of reasons this happens from poor road infrastructure and traffic laws, to the fact that many tourist don’t really know how to ride a scooter when they rent one. With that kind of combination it seems obvious that there would be crashes.

Now I don’t want to scare or deter anyone from renting or riding a scooter in Thailand or South East Asia, because if you are smart about it and careful you will be fine, and it’s really the most convenient form of transportation. And honestly if you live your life not doing things because they are dangerous, you’ll probably never do anything.

Here’s how I crashed a scooter in Thailand

First I’d like to mention that I’ve ridden both a dirt bike and motorcycle prior to getting a scooter on Koh Tao. I’m not going to say I was great at riding, but I knew the basics. And before the crash I’d been cruising around for about a month on the little Honda Click.

I had just finished up my advanced diving course, the last dive being a night dive, and was heading to the bar to meet Rob and some friends. A lot of things could have been potentially dangerous and crash causing, like the fact that it was dark out, or that is was raining, or that I was tired. But the truth of the matter is I was stupid, the car in front of me was driving erratically and I was following too closely. So when they slammed on their brakes at a patch of dirt in the road I also hit my brakes to keep from hitting them. The sudden change in speed in the soft dirt (made even less stable by the rain) caused my back tire to slide out. I knew I was going down as soon as I’d hit the breaks. It was a stupid mistake, and I knew it.

If there’s anything you take away from this story it’s that, when riding a scooter never slam on the brakes in dirt.

I vividly remember hitting the ground and immediately concerned about the truck that was behind me. Did they see me fall? Am I about to get run over? Should I lay flat on the ground in case they didn’t see me and hope that the high clearance will just pass over me? All these questions races through my head in less than a second. I realized within that same second that the truck had stopped so I immediately stood up so that no one else would have the chance to run me over. It is amazing what adrenaline can do. Without a second thought I picked up the bike and rolled it over to the shoulder to get it and myself out of traffic.

Once out of the road I realized I’d knocked the wind out of myself and hadn’t taken a good breath in what felt like forever. I gulped down some air as a group of Germans ran over asking if I needed help.

At first I said no, I was fine, I didn’t live too far away and could make it home. They skeptically looked me up and down and started rinsing me off with water bottles and asked again if I wanted to come back to their bungalow, to get cleaned up, it was just around the corner. I was slowly becoming aware that I was bleeding, a lot. One of the German girls said she and another girl were nurses, at which point reason kicked in and I was like “yes I’ll come with you!”

The girls walked me quite literally around the corner to their bungalow while one of the guys walked the bike for me. Once inside they sat me down and went to work, I remember thinking, “holy hell, they’ve got like a whole doctor’s office worth of supplies in here!”. I sat on a cot while they cleaned and bandaged all my wounds.

I managed to text Rob to come get me, but the group assured me I could stay and rest as long as I needed. When Rob got to the bungalow they were putting the last bandages on my arms and legs, I thanked them profusely as Rob basically carried me home.

serious road rash is no fun

this is what happen when you crash a scooter

The group of Germans were so nice and helpful, and I appreciate the kindness of strangers so much. I was in shock and never got any of their names, and by the time I was well enough to go by their bungalow to thank them again they were no longer there.

All in all my crash wasn’t as bad as it could have been, considering I was only wearing a bathing suit and shorts, and no helmet. I’m very lucky to not have any broken bones or concussion or worse.

staying positive through the bandages

So when it comes to riding a scooter around South East Asia, you just have to be smart and safe about it, and honestly wear a helmet. I do know they are starting to crack down on the helmet laws so it will hopefully be more common now. If you have an accident hopefully it won’t be too bad, and I’d be happy to compare “Koh Tao Tattoos” with you.

What do you think about riding scooters in South East Asia? Have  you done it? Would you do it?  Do you think I’m crazy? haha Let me know in the comments

Life in Wanderlust

18 comments

18 thoughts on “I Crashed a Scooter in Thailand

  1. Flo @ Yoga, Wine & Travel

    AHHHHhhhh everytime I see someone riding a scooter in Asia without a helmet I’m like “WHY GOOD GOD WHY”. Glad to hear that you’re okay though! We got into a minor accident in Laos as well – tried to do a U turn and the scooter just skidded on its side. Thankfully we just walked away with some bruises and a bloody knee. You’re so right – just have to be smart and safe.

    Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      Yeah the helmet thing is so crazy, I think with more enforcement of the helmet laws there will be more available, but when I was there, there just wasn’t anywhere to get a helmet. Glad your crash wasn’t too bad as well!

      Reply
  2. Keri | Ladies What Travel

    Oh wow, looks like you were pretty lucky huh? I don’t ride bikes so I’ve never even considered hiring one abroad, I’d be a total road hazard! Glad you ended up ok though, lovely to see examples of the kindness of strangers. They’re still out there in this world! 😀 #flyaway friday

    Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      Thanks! That group that helped me out was such a wonderful example of kindness in the world, which is so awesome.

      Reply
  3. TheSterlingTraveler

    Wow! Sounds like you felt better than you looked (no offense, of course). Glad those Germans were nurses and able to take care of you. I’ve never been to SE Asia, but I’d at least be sure to wear a helmet if I rode a scooter around there.

    Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      Haha no offense taken. If you ever do get to South East Asia renting a scooter to cruise around can be a ton of fun. But yeah, definitely find a helmet, I found in northern Thailand they were more common and you could get them from the rental places, I think in the south in the islands they are little behind on that, but hopefully they’ll catch up soon and start stocking helmets.

      Reply
  4. Ava Meena

    Those Germans sound like great people, good thing they were right behind you! Thanks for sharing, it’s always comforting to hear about fellow travelers looking out for each other. #FlyAwayFriday

    Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      They really were wonderful people, and a nice reminder that we’re all in this together and should help each other out. Thanks!

      Reply
  5. Courtney @ Travel Daze

    Oh no! Sounds like a terrifying experience. I’m glad you’re okay. I have a bit of a fear about driving vehicles that aren’t mine, so I’d probably avoid getting a scooter in SE Asia, but I know it’s the best way to get around. I guess we’ll see when I get there. #FlyAwayFriday

    Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      Thanks! Scooter are definitely the easiest way to get around in SEA, but there are tons of means of transportation, so if you don’t feel comfortable riding theres no need to. When and where are you going in SEA?

      Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      It was really lucky that they were nurses and were so nice, and it a good reminder that we’re all travelers and in the same boat and can help each other out. Thanks!!

      Reply
  6. Tiffany

    Oh my gosh. Thankfully you weren’t hurt worse. We have seen SO many travelers beat up from riding scooters. I know they seem like such great fun, but I am so wary of them. You are right, wear a helmet and I think just drive SO SLOW. So you are ok! #flyawayfriday

    Reply
  7. Kana

    Oh my goodness!!! Are you ok?!?! I mean obviously you are safe enough to write about this but I hope you’re recovering ok!!! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this week!

    Reply
  8. Chloe

    Omg!!! I’m so glad you’re ok!! I only drove a scooter up in Pai cuz that was the only place I felt comfortable driving one (I’m a newbie :)) and almost got in a crash there. I’m so glad you’re ok!!

    Reply
    1. nattiekaf Post author

      Thanks! Pai is such a cute town and nice to scooter around in because it’s small. Glad to hear you didn’t have a crash, but ‘almost’s’ can be just as scary!

      Reply

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