Monday, January 23, 2012

Thailand: Briton Killed in Traffic Accident in Pattaya

British tourist, Christopher Nicholas Gibb, 31, was killed instantly while riding a Honda Click, a two-wheeled motorized vehicle, in Pattaya on Saturday (January 21). Gibb wore no helmet.

Another participant in the accident, Ekpong Boon-kern, 28, who was driving a Toyota Vigo, stated that he was heading to the far end of the soi [street] when Gibb accelerated his motorbike to overtake a pickup in front of him, causing him to lose control of the bike, swerve into Ekpong's lane, and hit his pickup's side mirror on the driver side.

At that, Gibb
was thrown off his bike by the impact with the side mirror, and fell into the middle of the road when 10-wheeled truck coming from behind ran over him. It is unknown whether Gibb was killed when he fell from his motorbike or whether that occurred when the heavy-laden truck drove over him; hopefully an autopsy will confirm this.

COMMENT: Predictably, as in many fatalities in Thailand and other developing countries where there is poor traffic enforcement and driver discipline, the driver of the truck FLED the scene and is reportedly being sought by police.

I continue to unsuccessfully advocate for better regulation of who is qualified to rent a motorbike or motorcycle; mandatory wearing of helmets and protective clothing (not beachwear); and the aggressive traffic enforcement of two-wheeled motorized vehicles.

In terms of lessons-learned, a helmet would not have saved Mr. Gibb's life. Yet, we will never know whether he was an experienced motorbike rider or not. Had he pulled to the side of the road to let heavy traffic clear, this tragedy might have been avoided.

All foreigners should NOT be authorized to rent motorbikes/motorcycles unless they have a valid license from another country or have documentary proof of having taken a qualifying training course upon arrival in Thailand.

Although it may never be known whether Gibb had consumed alcohol prior to riding his motorbike, it is clear that foreign visitors need to deliberately choose whether they are going to drink or drive, but not do BOTH.

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