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Thread: Renting a scooter - legal requirements

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Renting a scooter - legal requirements

    A friend of mine is planning a trip in July, and wants to rent a scooter and travel around a bit. I thought you needed an international driving permit to legally ride a <125cc scooter, but his other friend who's been to Thailand said his US or UK driving license would be fine (as in a standard full UK Driving license, not a bike specific one).

    Can anyone confirm for clarity?

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    A photo id license is almost always enough to wave at cops.. then again I have seen diving licences, even a UK video store membership card work at waving at cops.

    Legally he should have an IDP, and in the event of an accident it's possible insurance can demand one also..

    So what's needed, and what's worth having, and what his insurance wants.. all could be different answers.
    JimCA2 likes this.

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    I thought it was at least 1 arm and 1 leg...but once I saw a guy with no legs.....hmmmmm......forgot to consider you can have a kid stand in the footwell....fair play.

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    your own country licence is ok for up to 3 months if it's in English and you are allowed to drive a motorbike with it

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Depends if you are talking about for insurance or the practicality of riding a bike here....

    for riding a bike a valid drivers licence in english is OK for the cops in Thailand....even if it is only for a car...no IDL is demanded....however cross the border to Cambodia or the PI and an IDL is required or face a fine

    But for insurance....you would need a valid bike licence in your own country...some travel insurers won't even accept a Thai bike licence...must be one from the country where the policy is issued

    The BUPA one I took out here specifically precludes any injury from riding a bike....with or without a licence

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    Always make sure you have small denominations handy in your wallet for cop stops.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimbag View Post
    your own country licence is ok for up to 3 months if it's in English and you are allowed to drive a motorbike with it
    Different answers depending on who you ask.. It has been said before by those in authority legally its an IDP or a local Thai license..

    Yet Hertz etc and all the rental companies take a home country alone..

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Also dont forget.. Many home country licenses allow you to ride a bike up to 125cc without doing an explicit bike test..

    But many of the better larger scooters these days, Nuovo, Spark, PCX, etc are 135 or 150.. To again you would be unlicensed and uninsured.

    Exactly this happened when big Mark came off a rental, badly sliced his leg and was in hospital for an operation.. His medical insurance wouldnt pay out unless it was shown he wasnt riding over a 125.. We managed it but it took some finessing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    Many home country licenses allow you to ride a bike up to 125cc without doing an explicit bike test..
    I think this also applies to UK doesnt it from memory ?! Still didnt stop the fcukers at the Kathu checkpoint fining me on a few different occasions as the driving licence doesn't have a picture of a motorbike on the back !

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Well I want to say yes, because thats how it was when I was in the UK, but I know they really tightened up on bike licenses, direct access, etc etc.. And now I dont know the rules.

    However I think theres a 125cc / 33 bhp limit on leaner bikes ??

    But when you get in IDP it endorses bike use.. A strange limit also from memory.

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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    My experience has been that I've been checked a total of 4 times. I showed my American license, which at the time didnt include a motorcycle authorization. Only once out of the 4 did the cop then tell me I had to have an IDL. I responded that "not for less than 30 days". I kinda knew he was fishing because I had my helmet on and wasnt speeding and it was mid afternoon so no beer had been consumed. He repeated "need international" and I repeated "not for 30 days". He squinted up at the sun and paused, but I sat still and said nothing. Finally he said "You sure?". I nodded and looked him right in the eye as if he'd just asked if I was sure of my own name. He then waved me on and walked off.

    I am sure even if it had been more than 30 or 90 or even 180 days, it's nothing a few hundred baht wouldnt have solved.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    Different answers depending on who you ask.. It has been said before by those in authority legally its an IDP or a local Thai license..

    Yet Hertz etc and all the rental companies take a home country alone..
    I only have a paper license with no picture at the moment
    I have rented cars in the US and Canada with it but was a little worried i wouldn't be able to in Thailand but not a problem

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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    Well I want to say yes, because thats how it was when I was in the UK, but I know they really tightened up on bike licenses, direct access, etc etc.. And now I dont know the rules.

    However I think theres a 125cc / 33 bhp limit on leaner bikes ??

    But when you get in IDP it endorses bike use.. A strange limit also from memory.
    I think:

    Full car licence entitles 125cc motorcycle driving with L plates for two years, then you take the test or lose the entitlement.

    33bhp restriction is for two years after the test is passed, you can do 'direct access' which is a stiffer test but un-restricted entitlement once passed.

    According to the AA site that I looked at on Sunday Thailand is on the list that requires an IDP but there is nothing specific about bikes.

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    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Must have been stopped more than 50 times by now, and always just showed whatever ID I had in my pocket. Have an IDP as well, but been severly mangled by rain over the years...

    As to insurance, I have a cheap traffic insurance through my bank here (SCB). Up to 300K or so. Anything more serious I'd use my savings or just head home... Haven't tested it in practice though, so may be fooling myself.

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    I used my insurance (local) after a motorbike accident once. Was never questioned about any driving license.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    I am sure even if it had been more than 30 or 90 or even 180 days, it's nothing a few hundred baht wouldnt have solved.
    Even the IDP is only supposed to be used for 90 days, after that your supposed to get a local license.

    Of course its routinely ignored and many people are doing visa runs before 90 days anyway.

  17. #17
    Senior Member billpay's Avatar
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    I have accident insurance and have used it twice and never had to show a license. Great accident insurance and only costs about 4k per year.
    The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Who is that with Bill ?? As I wanted to up the level of cover a little and started getting accident only quotes up around where full medical would be.

    Looking for accident only, that covers bike riding (track and off rd) for up to a min of say 500k.

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    Who is that with Bill ?? As I wanted to up the level of cover a little and started getting accident only quotes up around where full medical would be.

    Looking for accident only, that covers bike riding (track and off rd) for up to a min of say 500k.
    Interested as a well Bill (or anyone else that has decent quotes for insurance covering bikes).

  20. #20
    Senior Member Easycpl's Avatar
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    I have an unlimited bike license in the States, and an IDL. In the US you can only get an IDL from a AAA automobile association office, and it's only valid for 1 year. I believe it's a racket of sorts, but it does mean that my US insurance covers me when overseas. Also, I had to remind the office girl who issues it to include the endorsements for motorcycle, and Trucks up to 26,000 lbs which are on my US license . The girls tried to send me out the door with an auto only version because that's what most people get, and they didn't even look.

    In point of fact, I've never had to whip that bad-boy out, because I always wear a helmet and tend to look and ride relatively sane, but if things go sideways I'm all in favor of having all my ducks in a row.
    LivinLOS likes this.

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