So I crashed a motorbike in Chiang Mai. A beautiful 2017 MSX with an Akrapovic slip on, some nice Pro Taper bars, and high vis paint job. Now I know you are probably thinking, “justin, you’re an idiot,” but hey shit happens on two, anyone who rides knows that. Here's the full video with a bit of background on the incident and what it's like to ride in Thailand.
YUP. FUCK ME RIGHT?! I popped up, reset the bike’s tip over sensor and busted out of there while I assume the gas station attendants laughed. Normally I would be embarrassed, but there’s no way in hell anyone would have seen that cement dust, hell I could barely even see it while standing in it.
Bike Damage: Turn signal popped off. Bent the bars. Tiny scratch on the light cover. Luckily all minor, all easily fixable.
Me Damage: Popping off at 25kph, I only suffered some minor rash on my forearm, because i’m smart and bought gear. ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES AND A HELMET. I would've seriously hurt my hand and knocked my head otherwise (later found out I broke my GoPro mount).
Crashes under 30kph will be minor if you're riding in shorts and a T-Shirt (you will be. it's bloody hot.). Crashes over 30kph are gonna tear you up, but you won’t die if you’re wearing a helmet and you'll fair much better with gloves.
If you get hurt bad, go to the hospital. It's cheap & road rash can become easily infected if you don't scrub it good.
Seeing as I was alright, and the bike was fine. My biggest concern at this point was being overcharged by the rental company. I hadn't done a lot of research on these guys and they had my passport (they can't withhold your passport legally, but they'll be annoying about it). These were silly, minor scratches due to the shit roads that are Thailand.
Upon renting earlier, I noticed the other turn signal was already taped up along with a new exhaust, so i’m quite sure someone low sided the right previously, I just now I had the left to contend with. So like any good motorcycle hooligan, I bent the bars back, rubbed off the minor scratch and found a hardware store in the morning to get some electrical tape. I re-taped both turn signals so they looked identical and wham! Looks good as new. I asked a few friends I'd been riding with, they couldn’t tell.
On an unrelated note; I rode for 500km+ the next day, through some of the craziest roads i’ve ever been on. I love this bike and will be buying one back in the states.
So the day came when I had to return the MSX and hop on a plane to Phuket. Was I going to be charged and have to argue all morning potentially missing my flight?? I opted for going in as soon as they opened, while everyone is just getting their coffee and breakfast. I made sure to wear a long sleeve shirt to cover up the minor rash on my left arm, as I suspect if they saw that they would have asked questions. Alas I parked the bike out front, with a full tank of gas, walked in with my receipt, they looked me over, quick glance at the bike, handed me my passport and I was on my way!
THEY DIDN’T EVEN LOOK AT THE BIKE.
I was amazed, relieved, and I honestly didn’t feel bad, as I had repaired everything appropriately. The scooter rental industry makes a killing on these since most tourists crash at some point and fixing them is super cheap.
So my advice if you just have a minor motorbike crash? Fix it yourself, find a mechanic if it’s a little more major. They’ll likely be able to do it for dirt cheap and you won’t have to worry. I guess you could also purchase motorbike insurance as well but for a $1k-2k scooter it’s certainly not worth it.
If you’re still with me on this, and you’re reading because you crashed a moped, small bike, or scooter, don’t freight. A hospital visit is dirt cheap, get checked out if you need to. Most rental companies are chill, but verify they aren’t fucking you over if you do need to pay for damages, you can ask to take it to a 2nd mechanic for a quote. And lastly if you’re worried about getting your passport back, they can’t legally keep it from you, demand it back if they're resisting. Be confident and make sure you assert yourself, you may not get out scott free like me, but don’t let them push you around, settle what’s fair for both parties and do it in a calm manner. If the Police show up and you don't speak Thai, it's probably not going to work out in your favor.
Have fun out there.