Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada gave the directive at a meeting at Provincial Hall on Friday (Mar 18).
“It is great to hear that many people will join the event. I hope all bikers have been warned of the conditions of our roads and the many road constructions sites across the island. They need to know which roads they should use, and which ones they should avoid,” Gov Chamroen.said.
“Every year, we focus on road safety campaign again and tell people to keep their helmets on while on riding on Phuket roads.
“We want to push Phuket to be a top-quality tourist spot where everyone respects the law. I think that maybe it is time to take down all the old helmet-education campaign signs and make sure that police fine all people who break traffic laws,” he added.
The directive for police to clamp down on traffic violations follows the March 1 announcement by the Royal Thai Police that its related divisions – Tourist Police, Traffic Police, Strategy Division, Foreign Affairs Division, all in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Department of Highways – will be ramping up their efforts to curtail wayward motorists.
The strict enforcement is to cover the key traffic rules and regulations: driving on footpaths; driving without a license; driving against the traffic (“ghost” driving/riding); not giving way to pedestrians at crossings; driving without wearing a seatbelt/helmet; careless or inconsiderate driving; driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated; illegal car accessorising; and parking in a prohibited space.
The move came in response to the Royal Thai Government’s announcement in late January requesting the Royal Thai Police to tighten law enforcement on traffic rules and regulations across the country, as part of the broader effort to upgrade safety and security standards, and to boost trust and confidence among the public.
Governor Chamroen also called on police to co-ordinate resources to ensure that motorcades of motorcycles arriving across Thao Thepkrasattri Bridge are checked for security reasons, but cleared in an appropriate and timely manner.
“I ask the organizers to please advise all bikers to have their paperwork, such as vehicle registration and proof of insurance, ready when they arrive at the Tha Chatchai Checkpoint,” he said.
“They will be subject to routine searches, including drug checks, but we should have a support vehicle ready for them to lead the motorcade through town, maybe one vehicle in front and another at the back of the group.”
Regarding VIPs joining the motorcades onto the island, Gov Chamroen added, “I ask the Bike Week organizers to give a heads up to officials when the bikers will arrive on the island and to alert them of the VIP guests.
“I understand that sometimes we feel we did not get the service we deserve, especially when we travelling to another country. I have experienced this myself sometimes here at the main checkpoint. We must understand that officers at the checkpoint work on rotation. We see new faces all the time. Our officers must be notified when VIP guests are expected to arrive and briefed on who the VIPs are and where they are headed.
“Communication is the key to keep everything goes smoothly. Officers at the checkpoint can inform Traffic Police where the group is going, what route they will take, and where they will be stopping. We must know all this so we can provide security and convenience,” Gov Chamroen said.
“Our majority of bikers will come from Singapore and Indonesia and we are expecting a lot of VIP guests, like last year,” said Wittaya Singkalah, Vice President of the Phuket Riders Club and one of the key organisers of the event.
“Last year our international bikers ran into some issues at Phuket main checkpoint and they were not happy about how police conducted searches, so this year I want to get the message out to police to handle them kindly,” he noted.
Regarding the announcement by Land Transport chief Sanit Phromwong last week that his department will crack down on vehicles, including motorcycles, entering the country from the north (see story here), Tourism and Sports Phuket Office Director Santi Pawai said, “As far as I understand, foreign bikers entering Thailand by motorcade for this event will have to clear immigration and customs as usual, but will not have any problems.
“Officials will meet again regarding this, but since this event is special and promotes tourism for the country, I don’t think it will be a problem.
“The new regulations will not be apply to vehicles entering Thailand from Laos, Malaysia and Singapore, with which Thailand has pacts on international car usage and most of the bikers attending the event come from these countries.” he added.
Mr Wittaya, who had just returned from promoting the event in Kuala Lumpur, said that he was told by officials that only motorhome recreational vehicles (RVs) were facing restrictions on entering the Kingdom, but not motorcycles.
“I was not aware of this I will check with them again just to be clear,” he told The Phuket News.
Phuket Bike Week, this year celebrating its 22nd edition under the theme “Asean Ride Together”, will be held in two parts: at Loma Park in Patong on April 8-10, and at the “Anuphas courtyard” (see map below) in Phuket Town on April 15-16.
As in previous years, Phuket Bike Week 2016 will feature a range of exciting activities and entertainment including a Big Bike Contest, International Music Festival, Miss Phuket Bike Week Contest, Tattoo Contest and Green Road Project, a campaign aimed at reducing global warming.
However, this year’s edition is expected to generate B1 billion for the local economy. (See story here.)
For more details, visit PhuketBikeWeek.com
Class Act Media is a proud sponsor of Phuket Bike Week.