Thailand’s Transport Department has issued new criteria for big bike riders, saying riders must now bring medical certificates when applying for a driving license.
Yongyut Nakdaeng, deputy director-general of the department, said on Wednesday the ministerial regulation on the application, issuance and renewal of driving licenses requires big bike riders to have more training and tests.
Medical certificates for driving license application and renewal must prove that the driver does not have congenital diseases or symptoms that medical professionals deem unsafe for riding.
The department would work with the Medical Council of Thailand to define the diseases or symptoms that big bike riders must prove they don’t have, Mr Yongyut said.
Apart from the prohibited diseases in the old regulation, new prohibited diseases which are being considered are epilepsy, diabetes, high-blood pressure, bipolar disorder, autism and a height of less than 90 centimeters.
Health certificate when renewing Motorcycle licenses
The medical certificates will be applicable for the application and renewal of all types of driving licenses — for personal cars, motorcycles and public vehicles.
The ministerial regulation on the application, issuance and renewal of a driving licenses will be effective on Feb 19.
The deputy director-general said big bike riders would have to present a health certificate when they renew their licenses since their physical fitness deteriorates as they age. They might have diseases or other health conditions that prevent them from riding a big bike safely, he said.
Training and tests for big bike riders were being formulated, he said. The government stepped up rules as the vehicles presented a high risk of road accidents, he said.
Thailand the Deadliest country for motorcyclists
Experts say that, on average, 5,500 motorcyclists die annually – or 15 deaths a day. The figure continues to climb, making Thailand the world’s deadliest country for motorcycles. The World Health Organization WHO reports there were 26.3 motorcycle-related deaths for every 100,000 people in Thailand in 2015, the highest in the world.
Motorcycles are a common mode of transport for Thais. Last year, they bought 1.74 million motorcycles compared with only 768,788 cars, according to the Thai Automotive Industry Association. In the first quarter of this year, 461,783 motorcycles were sold.
A 2015 study by the Thailand Accident Research Centre (Tarc) said motorbikes are popular for their convenience, low fuel and maintenance costs, and affordability.