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Scooter Lessons - Thailand or Europe?


Somchair

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Hi all,

 

So I have a driver's licence, but have not driven a car for many, many years, to the point where I would need lessons to begin driving again.

 

Now when it comes to scooters, I have never driven one at all, however when I move to Thailand in the near future I would like to drive one there.

 

I want to get some tuition/lessons (in English) on how to ride a scooter (safely), so I was wondering whether you think it's worthwhile doing it in my home country or whether this is an option in Thailand? There it would be a lot cheaper and I would be getting tuition driving on the left-hand side of the road, whereas here I would be getting lessons driving on the right-hand side of the road.

 

I should add that initially I will likely be on a tourist visa, just in case that impacts my options.

 

Thoughts welcomed!

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27 minutes ago, Somchair said:

Hi all,

 

So I have a driver's licence, but have not driven a car for many, many years, to the point where I would need lessons to begin driving again.

 

Now when it comes to scooters, I have never driven one at all, however when I move to Thailand in the near future I would like to drive one there.

 

I want to get some tuition/lessons (in English) on how to ride a scooter (safely), so I was wondering whether you think it's worthwhile doing it in my home country or whether this is an option in Thailand? There it would be a lot cheaper and I would be getting tuition driving on the left-hand side of the road, whereas here I would be getting lessons driving on the right-hand side of the road.

 

I should add that initially I will likely be on a tourist visa, just in case that impacts my options.

 

Thoughts welcomed!

 

Typically, western countries have high safety requirements for motorcycle use so would advise getting training, experience and a licence there. 

Even for many of us with great experience driving (and on left of road too), driving a car or riding a motorcycle in Thailand can be stressful and dangerous. Just watch the Thai news, Facebook or YouTube to see the road carnage that goes on here. Good luck. 

 

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Have you done any research on the road toll in Thailand? Check how many fatalities involve motorcycles, particularly if you have never ridden one before! 🤔

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I got my scooter license in Thailand first. The test consisted of being able to tell the difference between red, green and yellow traffic lights.

I subsequently got a motorbike/scooter license in Australia. There was a written test of 50 questions on various road rules, then a practical test where I had to demonstrate skills such as slow riding, balance through tight curves, braking from set speed within a certain distance etc.etc. Only 70% of the 30-odd would-be qualifiers passed.

OP, please be aware in Thailand you have to assume every other vehicle on the road is trying to kill you. Not through malice aforethought, but simply because the training here is so incompetent.

I'd suggest in your home country, also take a course in defensive driving. It's kept me accident-free ( touch wood ) here.

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To me it's a no brainer; if you have the opportunity to learn before moving to Thailand learn in your home country. Even if you don't have time to get a licence get enough lessons under your belt to "feel" safe riding.

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Driving styles and road conditions in Thailand take a lot of getting used. Because of language barrier, home country course would be more beneficial, but keep in mind that there will still be a considerable period of 'learning the ropes' once on the ground here. Personally, I avoid motorcycles. Would strongly recommend same, especially for short-term and snow-bird type tourists.

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2 hours ago, Gecko123 said:

Driving styles and road conditions in Thailand take a lot of getting used. Because of language barrier, home country course would be more beneficial, but keep in mind that there will still be a considerable period of 'learning the ropes' once on the ground here. Personally, I avoid motorcycles. Would strongly recommend same, especially for short-term and snow-bird type tourists.

"Driving styles?" That has to be one of the most polite euphemisms I've seen on TV in a long time.

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Twist and go scoots kids can ride. 

 

When you come to Thailand my advice would be ride a bicycle about first as someone has suggested. 

Getting use to lefthand side of road and observation on how Thai people use the roads and the what they do at road junctions etc is your first leaning curve. 

 

Then get some lessons with a Thai motorbike school or learn on empty places to control the scooter.

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7 hours ago, Somchair said:

 

I should add that initially I will likely be on a tourist visa, just in case that impacts my options.

Likely any travel insurance will not cover you when/if you have an accident.

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7 hours ago, Somchair said:

There it would be a lot cheaper and I would be getting tuition driving on the left-hand side of the road, whereas here I would be getting lessons driving on the right-hand side of the road.

once you are here you would spend time as a pedestrian crossing the street so you get programmed to look the correct direction. 

I would sit near a intersection and just watch the locals on scooters navigate a uncontrolled intersection.

there is what i call the "flow" and you can see it as most of the time the Thais navigate a intersection just on anticipating correctly what the other person will do. As a new comer you will most likely panic and stop or do something that the other person was not expecting. I see this all the time from Expats who are very overwhelmed in traffic. 

the one number one thing i do is look over my right shoulder before making a right turn. you will be hit by someone passing you on your right side (the wrong side). 

make sure you have extra insurance that specially covers scooter accidents. 

if you are renting a scooter make sure it has new tires, haha, good brakes and two rear view mirrors. rental scooters are mostly <deleted> and are very unsafe. 

good luck and may god have mercy on your soul. 

 

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Don't depend on anything you learn in an official motorcycle course.  Driving in the US for example isn't anything like driving in Thailand.  Yeah, of course, go learn the basics about handling the motorcycle. 

But as soon as you hit the roads here what you'll discover is the motorcycle riding is about extreme defensive driving and basic survival. 
Thai drivers, both motorcycle and cars/trucks, honestly don't have driving skills compatible with as Western country.  They do things that are literally suicidal, and the fact that they kill 21,000 to 25,000 people a year on their roads is a testament to that insanity.  Stupidity, short-sightedness, incapability to estimate time, space, and motion on the roads, extreme aggressiveness, and a complete lack of basic driving skills leads to this slaughter - 80% of which are motorcycle fatalities. 
I used to love to drive in the US - cars and motorcycles.  Here in Thailand I really detest driving. There is no relaxing, not lowering your guard, no just enjoying the ride.  I still have a Honda Dream that I bought in 2008 but I hardly drive it any longer.  Its just incredibly dangerous and I'm just getting too old.
So, if you do decide to drive here?  Make sure you have a good accident insurance policy that covers motorcycle driving as well as quality vehicle insurance.  The Thai who pulls out from a side road and creams you probably will have neither a license or insurance.  And the cops will probably blame you for an accident caused by a Thai unless you get your insurance agent involved.  This is an insane place to drive.
Understand that driving here is dangerous.   After a whole bunch of near misses you'll get the idea.  And you'll start to understand the stupidity to look for.  That's not a skill that they can teach you in a motorcycle course.  You only get through some hair-raising experience.  Best of luck.

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6 minutes ago, connda said:

Don't depend on anything you learn in an official motorcycle course.  Driving in the US for example isn't anything like driving in Thailand.  Yeah, of course, go learn the basics about handling the motorcycle. 

But as soon as you hit the roads here what you'll discover is the motorcycle riding is about extreme defensive driving and basic survival. 
Thai drivers, both motorcycle and cars/trucks, honestly don't have driving skills compatible with as Western country.  They do things that are literally suicidal, and the fact that they kill 21,000 to 25,000 people a year on their roads is a testament to that insanity.  Stupidity, short-sightedness, incapability to estimate time, space, and motion on the roads, extreme aggressiveness, and a complete lack of basic driving skills leads to this slaughter - 80% of which are motorcycle fatalities. 
I used to love to drive in the US - cars and motorcycles.  Here in Thailand I really detest driving. There is no relaxing, not lowering your guard, no just enjoying the ride.  I still have a Honda Dream that I bought in 2008 but I hardly drive it any longer.  Its just incredibly dangerous and I'm just getting too old.
So, if you do decide to drive here?  Make sure you have a good accident insurance policy that covers motorcycle driving as well as quality vehicle insurance.  The Thai who pulls out from a side road and creams you probably will have neither a license or insurance.  And the cops will probably blame you for an accident caused by a Thai unless you get your insurance agent involved.  This is an insane place to drive.
Understand that driving here is dangerous.   After a whole bunch of near misses you'll get the idea.  And you'll start to understand the stupidity to look for.  That's not a skill that they can teach you in a motorcycle course.  You only get through some hair-raising experience.  Best of luck.

Here's a good example of what to expect - over, and over, and over, and over again...
Those most likely to be killed in an accident are motorcycle riders regardless of who caused the accident.

 

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24 minutes ago, canthai55 said:

Advice re: ride a bicycle first !!! Bad idea. No way to get out of trouble.

Roads made for motor vehicles. Use pedals at your peril.

don't be daft, I do about 12,000 km a year on the bicycle and about 8,000km on motorcycle. Riding a bicycle for a start isn't as dangerous as you think plus you get to know the roads at lower speed

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19 minutes ago, connda said:

Don't depend on anything you learn in an official motorcycle course.  Driving in the US for example isn't anything like driving in Thailand.  Yeah, of course, go learn the basics about handling the motorcycle. 

But as soon as you hit the roads here what you'll discover is the motorcycle riding is about extreme defensive driving and basic survival. 
Thai drivers, both motorcycle and cars/trucks, honestly don't have driving skills compatible with as Western country.  They do things that are literally suicidal, and the fact that they kill 21,000 to 25,000 people a year on their roads is a testament to that insanity.  Stupidity, short-sightedness, incapability to estimate time, space, and motion on the roads, extreme aggressiveness, and a complete lack of basic driving skills leads to this slaughter - 80% of which are motorcycle fatalities. 
I used to love to drive in the US - cars and motorcycles.  Here in Thailand I really detest driving. There is no relaxing, not lowering your guard, no just enjoying the ride.  I still have a Honda Dream that I bought in 2008 but I hardly drive it any longer.  Its just incredibly dangerous and I'm just getting too old.
So, if you do decide to drive here?  Make sure you have a good accident insurance policy that covers motorcycle driving as well as quality vehicle insurance.  The Thai who pulls out from a side road and creams you probably will have neither a license or insurance.  And the cops will probably blame you for an accident caused by a Thai unless you get your insurance agent involved.  This is an insane place to drive.
Understand that driving here is dangerous.   After a whole bunch of near misses you'll get the idea.  And you'll start to understand the stupidity to look for.  That's not a skill that they can teach you in a motorcycle course.  You only get through some hair-raising experience.  Best of luck.

you make it sound a lot worse than it is which I guess is why you don't ride anymore, as you get older you get more frightened

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Like most Thai's if you can maintain your balance you can operate a scooter, read,  & digest  online the Highway code,. because i have never seen  a Highway code for sale, or given out  at the traffic office.

 

My thinking regarding driving a car  .. its a bit like swimming, once you have done it,   you'll never forget how  just soooooo  much more traffic on the road now, if you have'nt driven for a  very very long time..

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13 minutes ago, scubascuba3 said:

you make it sound a lot worse than it is which I guess is why you don't ride anymore, as you get older you get more frightened

As you get older you lose some of the keener senses of perception that tend to keep you safe and driving defensively.  "Frightened?"  Sure, why not.  Cautious, simply not wanting to deal with it anymore, and understanding my own risk tolerance is actually more like it.  When you're younger and feel like you're gonna live forever you tend to be a lot less risk adverse.  You take more chances, its no big deal.  I was that way; not any more. That's life.

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1 hour ago, canthai55 said:

Daft is riding a bicycle on any road. Bike paths OK. But the road ? Insanity

so from that you do zero km on a bicycle on the roads? who do you think knows more, someone who does thousands every year or someone who does zilch? 

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52 minutes ago, connda said:

As you get older you lose some of the keener senses of perception that tend to keep you safe and driving defensively.  "Frightened?"  Sure, why not.  Cautious, simply not wanting to deal with it anymore, and understanding my own risk tolerance is actually more like it.  When you're younger and feel like you're gonna live forever you tend to be a lot less risk adverse.  You take more chances, its no big deal.  I was that way; not any more. That's life.

Most of us should be reducing the risk as much as possible, helmet, no drink driving, know the road, know the dangerous junctions, not late at night etc etc some do it better than others. I've never seen a crazy fast old Thai motorbike rider, plenty of young ones

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47 minutes ago, scubascuba3 said:

so from that you do zero km on a bicycle on the roads? who do you think knows more, someone who does thousands every year or someone who does zilch? 

 

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9 hours ago, scubascuba3 said:

Wrong, it depends on the cover, need to ensure you are covered before you purchase

OK, any insurance that needs to cover you will be horrendously expensive, hows that?

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On 1/28/2021 at 11:55 PM, PatOngo said:

Have you done any research on the road toll in Thailand? Check how many fatalities involve motorcycles, particularly if you have never ridden one before! 🤔

 

Yes I have and I realise that it's one of the worst countries in the world for traffic related deaths 🤭

 

Thanks a lot for the input all. I guess I will invest in some lessons here if I decide that I am brave enough to ride in Thailand.

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Definitely taking lessons at home will not hurt. But, don’t get too fixated on the rules and regulations because everything you will learn will not exist in Thailand. Simply put, as far as scooters go, there are no rules anything can happen. 

 

When you get here the best thing you can do is choose a bike which is very simple to ride

- Fully Automatic 

- Full ABS (front and Rear) 

- Dual Braking (i.e Hand brakes only) 

 

That leaves feet free from taking the foot off the brake under panic braking. 

 

- Always wear a Helmet (full face is better)

- Always wear good footwear (no lip flops) - trainers minimum

- Gloves are a good idea 

( I personally always wear more gear - riding boots, Kevlar Jeans, Jacket with back protector, Gloves, Full Face Helmet - some may argue thats overkill )

 

Basic Rules: 

- Never ride when drinking

- Don’t ride at night

- Don’t ride on a highway 

 

Lots more basic rules, i.e. always assume you are not seen, also ways assume the other vehicles want to kill you etc etc...

 

Riding in Thailand is ok, you just have to be very alert - not riding at night and never while drunk is probably the biggest factor in ensuring you do not become a statistic. 

 

 

 

 

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On 1/29/2021 at 10:02 AM, scubascuba3 said:
On 1/29/2021 at 8:59 AM, canthai55 said:

Daft is riding a bicycle on any road. Bike paths OK. But the road ? Insanity

so from that you do zero km on a bicycle on the roads? who do you think knows more, someone who does thousands every year or someone who does zilch? 

 

I’ve ridden a bicycle on the road in Bangkok a couple of times...  canthai55 is correct...  Other motorcyclist are a major problem - riding a bike is simply lethal, there is too much ‘closing speed’ between you and those passing you, and usually those passing you have such a lot attention span they are on their phone or simply not paying attention to slower objects... 

 

Zero KM on the road on a bicycle is definitely the smarter option - its a real shame because riding in Thailand can be very pleasant, especially on quieter areas (such as Bang Krachao - Bangkok ) but getting their can be hair-raising at best. 

 

At least in some areas like Chiang Mai etc people are more familiar with bicyclists.

 

Scooters are everywhere, so most cars are ok, but the one single facet of riding a scooter is that cars will ignore simply ignore you. The don’t swerve quickly etc, but the will pull out, change lanes slowly etc... generally it's up to the motorcyclist to simply avoid the cars, slow or go round them. 

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8 hours ago, richard_smith237 said:

 

I’ve ridden a bicycle on the road in Bangkok a couple of times...  canthai55 is correct...  Other motorcyclist are a major problem - riding a bike is simply lethal, there is too much ‘closing speed’ between you and those passing you, and usually those passing you have such a lot attention span they are on their phone or simply not paying attention to slower objects... 

 

Zero KM on the road on a bicycle is definitely the smarter option - its a real shame because riding in Thailand can be very pleasant, especially on quieter areas (such as Bang Krachao - Bangkok ) but getting their can be hair-raising at best. 

 

At least in some areas like Chiang Mai etc people are more familiar with bicyclists.

 

Scooters are everywhere, so most cars are ok, but the one single facet of riding a scooter is that cars will ignore simply ignore you. The don’t swerve quickly etc, but the will pull out, change lanes slowly etc... generally it's up to the motorcyclist to simply avoid the cars, slow or go round them. 

Too many fat Falang on motorbikes getting no exercise which is slowly killing them, personally I like both bicycles and motorbikes, obviously you can avoid roads that you think are dangerous

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Too many privileged idiots I see riding bicycles.

I am green, I am healthy, I am Great !

While they zig zag all over the road, don't stop at stop signs, don't signal, don't stop for red lights.

Just because they are on a bicycle they think everybody else should make way for them. Idiots.

Couple I have run into - or I should say ran into me - many figuratively and one literally - soon change their minds.

Laying on the road with a bent bike and road rash wondering <deleted> just happened

I'll tell you what just happened - act like you own the road and this IS what happens

555

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36 minutes ago, canthai55 said:

Too many privileged idiots I see riding bicycles.

I am green, I am healthy, I am Great !

While they zig zag all over the road, don't stop at stop signs, don't signal, don't stop for red lights.

Just because they are on a bicycle they think everybody else should make way for them. Idiots.

Couple I have run into - or I should say ran into me - many figuratively and one literally - soon change their minds.

Laying on the road with a bent bike and road rash wondering <deleted> just happened

I'll tell you what just happened - act like you own the road and this IS what happens

555

 

This is one of the problems: motorists who don’t think they have to share the road. Or don’t think they ’should’ have to share the road with bicyclists. 

 

It's a polarising subject, but realistically, motorists should be conscientious and considerate of bicyclists and bicyclists conscientious and considerate of motorists. 

 

The issues with attitude occur when either party believes the other is taking liberties. 

Some cyclists have such an issue they seek out problems, where as some motorists are totally ignorant - and thats in developed nations with better safety standards. 

 

In Thailand that ’them vs us’ motorist vs cyclist doesn’t really exists - its just more dangerous here because of the ignorance and general poor standards.

 

 

One thing: I believe if bicyclists are going to be using the road they should have insurance to cover any damage they may cause to other vehicles in an accident.

Kind of a moot point in Thailand when most of the motorcycles don’t have this same insurance !

 

 

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