‘‘I would not want anyone to go through the harrowing and horrific experience that we had” said the father of James Wardman a 20 year old man who nearly lost his life in a scooter accident.

Turkey does not enjoy a good reputation for road safety standards, indeed Turkey is frequently cited as having one of the worst road safety records in Europe.

Why is it then that despite a national law requiring motor cycle, scooter and moped riders to wear a crash helmet hardly anyone bothers to wear one?  Among the worst offenders are tourists who, despite being offered the use of a crash helmet by the rental or hire company  persistently either refuse the offer or remove their helmet once they leave the vicinity of the rental office.

{mosimage}A case in point is the story of James Wardman. James is 20 years old and has been coming to Turkey on holiday with his family for more than 12 years. On 2nd July James rented a scooter and without wearing a crash helmet drove off to enjoy a ride around the resort of Icmeler. James crashed the scooter on a back road of the resort, no-one else was involved. He was taken by ambulance to Ahu Hetman Hospital in Marmaris where he spent the next five days in a coma on a life-support machine and five days in intensive care. James’ doctors said that his main injury was a fractured skull as well as cuts and lacerations requiring more than 50 stitches. The doctors said that James’ failure to wear a crash helmet very nearly cost him his life.

He now suffers from feeling constantly tired and giddy and has frequent temporary memory loss. James’ parents were faced with a 10,000gbp medical bill – although insured the insurance company refused to pay as James was not wearing a crash helmet.

This story is by no means unusual.  A leading Turkish national newspaper reported no less than 31 deaths and 131 serious injuries in traffic accidents nationwide on a single day in July, many of them involving motorbikes.

Turkish local newspapers have reported no less than 5 motorcycle deaths and 8 serious injuries so far this month in Mugla alone. According to the Turkish Drivers Federation in the first three months of this year there were 155,828 traffic accidents and 726 road deaths    in Turkey. Over 3,000 people a year die in      traffic accidents in Turkey. In the majority of motorcycle accidents riders were not wearing a crash  helmet.

{mosimage}So the message is clear – if you ride a motorbike, scooter or moped wear a crash helmet.

If you are here on holiday remember that your holiday insurance probably won’t cover renting a car or motorbike and even if it does failure to wear a crash helmet will render your insurance void.

Let’s leave the last word to James’ father – ‘‘I would not want anyone to go through the harrowing and horrific experience that we had – as a tourist ask yourself do you really need to rent a motorbike or scooter in the first place, and if you can’t resist the temptation ask for and wear the crash helmet; if you come from the UK remember that you drive on the right here in Turkey and lastly I’d like to ask the authorities to please get under-aged scooter riders off the road, and work harder to enforce the rule about     wearing a crash helmet’’

Once friends and family knew of James’ near fatal accident many people came forward to offer financial support to the family. James’ father says that they have now settled the medical care account but if anyone wants to donate would they please donate directly to Ahu Hetman Hospital so that they can use any donations for the good of others.
James’ family say they are extremely grateful for all the help from the the doctors, staff and management of the hospital and also to the Tokmak Family who own the Mola Aparts where they stayed on holiday.

The family said that everybody around them here in Turkey and even people that they did not know have been so helpful and supportive and they could not have managed through the difficult days when their son was on a life support machine without their support.

The family can be contacted at (UK) 0044-0113 2701 653, UK mobile 07921 542 753 and e-mail: jimwardman@hotmail.co.uk