ABTA cautions holidaymakers re quad bike hire

UK-based travel association, ABTA, has cautioned holidaymakers with regard to accidents on quad bikes when holidaying overseas, and the safety measures to be taken when hiring quad bikes.

A popular holiday activity, tourists are hiring more quad bikes each year, but there has also been an increase in the number of related accidents reported each year. Holidaymakers that hire the bikes as a means of travelling on main roads and ride them without helmets and adequate experience may be putting their lives at risk, according to ABTA.

While several tour operators offer travellers the opportunity of booking organised off-road bike excursions through reputable agencies, which follow strict health and safety guidelines, safety issues arise when holidaymakers hire the bikes independently from local businesses. ‘This can be extremely dangerous,’ ABTA warns as ‘quad bikes are powerful machines and proper driving experience and protection is vital.’

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.’

Appropriate and valid insurance to cover accidents is also a necessity that holidaymakers planning to hire a quad-bike should obtain, ABTA said. 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, it could result in substantial medical bills, especially if they require the use of an air ambulance to return them to the UK.

Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: ‘Our consular staff sees 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.’