13 Aug

British holidaymakers putting themselves at risk by hiring mopeds and quad bikes

ABTA – The Travel Association is strongly advising holidaymakers and other travellers to think twice before hiring mopeds whilst overseas, and to only ride quad bikes as part of an organised off-road excursion. 

ABTA Members reported to the Association 50 serious quad bike accidents – including three fatalities – and 18 moped accidents in 2018. 

So far in 2019, ABTA Members have reported that six customers have been 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, ABTA 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 also a common activity 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, in addition road surfaces are not always well-maintained, making accidents much more likely. Even at slow speeds, injuries can be serious and seemingly more minor injuries such as grazes and cuts, can result in a ruined holiday,   

ABTA is advising anyone travelling abroad that there will always be safer alternatives to hiring mopeds and quad bikes, such as hiring a car, taking a taxi or using public transport.  

It is also reminding holidaymakers of the limitations and exclusions of 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.

People could also face additional expenses from the fact that insurance sold by hire companies is often only third-party, which only covers the cost of damage to another vehicle. Any damage sustained to the rental vehicle may need to be paid for by the customer, who may face arrest if they do not pay and the hire company decides to press charges.

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.”

Recent examples of quad bike and moped accidents reported in the media in 2019 involving UK holidaymakers overseas:

Quad bike accidents

  • 21 June – 19 year old man dies in crash on Greek island of Zante
  • 1 July – 19 year old woman on holiday in Dubai suffers fractured spine and broken wrist, medical bills not covered by her travel insurance
  • 9 July – Former footballer Paul Gascoigne suffers injuries after crashing in Benidorm

Moped accidents

  • 15 May – 22 year old man killed in a crash in Vietnam
  • 25 June – 28 year old man in Bali hit with £20,000 medical bill not covered by his insurance
  • 30 June – 38 year old critically injured in Normandy
  • 20 July – 22 year old man killed in a crash in Cambodia

ABTA’s advice on quad bikes and moped safety

Top tips: quad bike safety

  • While quad bikes may be fun to drive, they are also powerful pieces of machinery that can be extremely dangerous
  • Stick to enjoying quad biking as part of an organised off-road excursion and don’t use a quad bike on public roads
  • Check your insurance – you may not be covered to hire a quad bike
  • Always wear a protective helmet
  • Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Make sure that you are provided with the appropriate training to operate the vehicle safely
  • Check that the vehicle is in good condition – and do not ride it if you have any concerns
  • Watch your speed
  • Do not allow anyone to ride pillion
  • Be aware that standard travel insurance may not cover riding a quad bike.

ABTA is advising anyone travelling abroad that there will always be safer alternatives to hiring mopeds, including hiring a car, taking a taxi or using public transport.

Be aware that standard travel insurance may not cover riding a moped.

For more details please visit: abta.com/mopedsandquadbikes

ABTA Spokespeople are available for TV and radio interviews both live and pre-recorded. ABTA has ISDN facilities. 
For further information, contact:

020 3117 0596 or press@abta.co.uk
Sean Tipton, Media Relations Manager, tel: 020 3117 0513 
Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer: 020 3693 0183

Notes to editors

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 
The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.