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British holidaymakers at risk by hiring mopeds and quad bikes

British holidaymakers are putting themselves at risk by hiring mopeds and quad bikes while holidaying overseas, according to ABTA, the travel association.

It advised holidaymakers and travellers to only ride quad bikes as part of an organised off-road excursion.

ABTA members reported as many as 50 serious quad bike accidents, including three fatalities, and 18 moped accidents in 2018.

So far in 2019, they have reported that six customers were involved in quad bike accidents on the road, including one fatality, and five moped incidents. As these figures represent just those cases involving customers on holiday with ABTA members, the association believes the total number of accidents involving UK holidaymakers will be even higher.

Quad bikes have become increasingly popular in destinations such as Greece, Cyprus, Cape Verde & Turkey. Hiring mopeds is very common for British travellers visiting countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Riders often have little experience of these vehicles and don’t wear the appropriate safety clothing. Besides, road surfaces are not always well-maintained, making accidents much more likely. Even at slow speeds, injuries can be severe and seemingly more minor injuries such as grazes and cuts can ruin a holiday.  

ABTA is advising anyone travelling abroad to go for safer alternatives such as hiring a car, taking a taxi or using public transport. 

Also, there are limitations and exclusions in standard travel insurance policies – many of which will not cover accidents from quad bikes and mopeds, as they are regarded as risky activities. Every year lack of insurance cover results in injured holidaymakers having to pay very high medical bills out of their own pockets.

Nikki White, ABTA director of destinations and sustainability, said: “Every year people suffer serious injuries or worse after hiring mopeds or quad bikes while on holiday. The freedom they offer can be very tempting, but often riders have very little experience, and this is made even more dangerous by their lack of knowledge of local driving laws and customs and poor quality roads.

“Most standard insurance policies will not cover accidents, leaving holidaymakers at risk for high medical bills and other associated costs. ABTA’s advice is to avoid hiring mopeds and only ride a quad bike if part of a properly supervised excursion. There are always alternatives such as hiring a car, taking a taxi or using public transport.”

Julia Longbottom, director of consular services at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: “Our consular teams around the world help a number of British people abroad every year affected by accidents on quad bikes and mopeds. Many of these have involved serious injuries and even fatalities.

It’s essential to check that you are fully covered by your travel insurance if you do decide to hire a moped or quad bike. We also advise that people check the vehicle is in good condition before hiring it, always wear a helmet and avoid putting themselves in a situation where they could get hurt. Accidents can and do happen, even if you’re a careful driver.”

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