The choice of locations for British and Irish to find two wheel machines is endless in Crete. There are so many more motorbikes, scooters and mopeds in Crete holiday resorts than you ever see on the roads in Britain and Ireland. More so, of course in the bike rental and hire season of the Summer months, when Quad Bikes are also available for the tourists and visitors.
Your UK motor cycle driving licence is valid in Greece under standard EU rules. If you hold the A1 light motorcycle licence you can ride 75cc to 125cc machines only. If you have held a full standard category A licence for 2 years you ride any motorcycle with a power output of up to 25kW (33bhp) and a power-to-weight ratio not exceeding 0.16kW/kg, carry pillion passengers and use motorways. Within the first 2 years however you are restricted to the 25kW.
For Ireland the rules are the same, both A1 and A Full licences are good for use in Greece.
The AL and A Categories are the same as UK. A1 Motorcycles with an engine size of 51-125cc and/or a speed capability of over 45km/h, and with a power rating not exceeding 11 kW, and with or without sidecar 16
Just a reminder for you to check if you have correct licence to drive a moped in Crete. If you intend to hire a moped you should be aware that you would require a valid motor cycle licence with at least category A1 - "light motorcycle" for this purpose. In the UK, the category P, which is valid in Britain for driving mopeds up to 50cc is not valid in Greece. The Republic of Ireland's Category M (the same as UK's P) is not valid in Greece either. In IE, Category M defines the licence as covering two-wheeled vehicles with an engine size not exceeding 50 cc and/or a speed capability not more than 45 km/h.
Malia, Heraklion Prefecture, where the main street
has motorbike traffic coming from all directions.
The wearing of Helmets is the law in Greece. It was not enforced terribly well until recently. All has changed in Lasithi Prefecture and it is more obvious now in Heraklion that the police are stopping more frequently those who are without helmet. It is true you are likely to see locals riding around without a helmet (or curiously, wearing it on the Elbow) in the towns and villages.
Equally importantly, you will not be covered by your holiday insurance or other insurance. It is the first question asked by insurers of the Greek police relating to motor bike mishaps: "Were they wearing a helmet" as Greek law requires you to wear a crash helmet on a scooter, moped, quad bike or motorcycle.
UK Government travel advisory notices include one that relates to hire companies in Greece using your passport as security. Here is what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says: "You should be aware that when hiring a vehicle, hire companies will often demand your passport as a form of security. You are advised not to hand over your passport under any circumstance. You should also check any waiver which will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged."
Right: Sign of the times! Quad bikes are banned on Malia's local streets after 8pm during the tourist season.
Also be warned that insurances are very specific too about "quads" being covered, and also the point about wearing a crash helmet, and in addition you must wear a helmet with a face guard is valid.
Another reminder, they are great to ride, but Quads are not allowed officially on the blue sign posted motorways. Signs are also going up in some resorts such as Malia, where there are local hours restrictions. Both the traffic and tourist police are getting more tough on non-Greek residents and visitors who disobey the law.
What about a Harley Davidson motorbike in Crete? There is a Harley shop in Heraklion; the biker club is Harley Davidson Greece. Rev up to the Harley Davidson Greek Club's website. (English and Greek).
- Post questions in our Brits in Crete Forum
Driving Cars in Crete - Advice from Brits in Crete
- or, if the whole thing puts you off - take a luxury air conditioned, KTEL Bus!