09 Aug

ABTA says put safety first when hiring quad bikes on holiday

ABTA – The Travel Association is highlighting important steps that holidaymakers should take to help avoid accidents on quad bikes when abroad. Hiring quad bikes is an increasingly popular holiday activity that tourists enjoy each year.  However, there have been an increasing number of accidents on quad bikes and it is feared that holidaymakers may be putting their lives at risk by hiring the bikes as a means to get around on main roads and by riding them without helmets and adequate experience, rather than in a supervised way.

Many tour operators offer the opportunity for customers to book organised off-road bike excursions through reputable agencies, which follow strict health and safety guidelines and include safety briefings.  The problems typically arise when holidaymakers hire quad bikes independently from local businesses as a means of transport around resorts. This can be extremely dangerous as quad bikes are powerful machines and proper driving experience and protection is vital. Injuries are often made worse by holidaymakers not wearing a helmet, even when required by law to do so.

It is also vital that holidaymakers intending to quad-bike whilst on holiday, ensure they have the appropriate insurance in place in case of an accident.  Many standard insurance policies specifically exclude cover for quad bike usage whether as a driver or passenger. If a holidaymaker has an accident on a quad bike and does not have adequate insurance, they could be liable for substantial medical bills, especially if they require the use of an air ambulance to get them back to the UK.

Nikki White, ABTA, Head of Destinations and Sustainability said: “The message we are sending to holidaymakers is that quad-biking can be a fun and memorable holiday experience as part of an off-road excursion with a reputable company. However, it can be extremely risky to hire a quad bike as a means of transport to get around resorts and to use on main roads. They may look easy and fun to drive but the reality is they are powerful vehicles that demand driving expertise and proper protection.”

Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Our consular staff see first-hand the tragic consequences of quad bike accidents – holidaymakers can end up badly injured, and sometimes face huge hospital bills before they can get home. If you think that you might end up hiring a quad bike on holiday make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for quad bike use.  Check the small print – your policy could be invalidated if you don’t wear a helmet.  If you are riding a quad bike on the roads, you need to know the local road laws. For travel safety tips and to check the latest travel advice for your destination visit www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo.”

Quad Bike Case Studies

2009 – 20 year old man in holiday in Crete killed in the early hours of the morning after his quad bike smashed into an oncoming truck, he was not wearing a helmet.

2008 – 18 year old man dies in Rhodes after losing control of quad bike and crashing into roadside post.

2012 – 45 year old woman in Ibiza dies after the quad bike she is riding as a passenger crashes into stone wall, not wearing a helmet, she suffers serious head injuries.