Big Bike Crackdown
Well, the sugary days of free-wheeling around on unregistered bike are looking very gloomy indeed. In yet more controlling moves from the authorities a ton of big bikes in Thailand have been impounded.
On the 24th February in Pattaya and 4th March 2009 in Chiang Mai the enforcers landed and soon got to work.
Large rental operations from the sun-washed beaches of Pattaya up to the dusty mountains of Chiang Mai have felt the weight of the law bear down on them. Bikes were promptly checked for legality, those that were suspect were loaded up onto pick-ups and driven away!
Even Isaan has a degree of this, although the checkpoints merely wanted to see insurance and licenses.
Any bike without plates or the correct papers / book have been seized and impounded. It's not just the big biking shops either, small shops have been affected along with the farang and thais out riding them.
Tales abound of luckless farang who've put their machines in for repairs / servicing and returned to find the place crawling with thai police confiscating their rides! It goes even crazier, if some are to be believed the cops are even noseying about the condo buildings and scoping out big bikes there, then waiting for farang to ride them outside before pouncing on them.
Korn Rentals, a well known bike shop in Pattaya had to pay out to the tune of 2.5 million baht to retro-actively register 28 or so big bikes! For solo riders the 'fee' is reputed to be 50k baht.
Up in Chiang Mai WR tells me he was followed for ten minutes before loosing the cops on a block to block chase! He's road legal but felt like distracting the BIB to keep them busy for a while!
But seriously, it looks as though the 'rules of the road' in Thailand are changing, at least for the immediate future. The crackdown has been ordered from the highest level, some say from the prime minister himself. The police themselves are affected and under the spotlight, with some of there own bikes being confiscated!
So either keep a very low-profile or get you bike legal. The sting looks to be a lasting one...
This section is hosted by our resident columnist Johnny B. who has been living in Thailand for seven years now and currently is based out of Bangkok.