Motorbike danger on Greek island roads.
Motorbike hire is hugely popular with youngsters on Greek island holidays – but they should be aware of the dangers.
By August this year 203 motorcyclists had died on Greek roads, by far the worst death rate in the whole of Europe.
Most deaths were on the mainland but the Greek islands claimed 37 lives, mostly on Crete, Corfu, Kos and Rhodes.
According to Greek island traffic police a high percentage of motorcycle fatalities involve young people aged up to 25.
Victims aged 25 or under in the January-July period came to 57, or 28% of the total and 16 of these were under the age of 17.
Greek police warn that, in the summer months, tourist visitors with little knowledge of motorbikes drive rented motorcycles on rudimentary road networks with tragic results.
Speeding and running red lights and stop signs are the main causes of fatal accidents with the highest number of fatalities in the summer holiday season.
Police say most fatal accidents happen at night, with 44 motorcyclists, or 21.6%, having died between midnight and 7am, in the January to July period.
The latest accident figures actually show a small decrease on 2010, when the same period saw 236 fatalities across the country.
Nevertheless, Greece ranks worst of the European countries for road deaths and the number of two-wheeled vehicles per driver, according to data published by the European Commission.
In the rest of the EU, fatal accidents involving motorbikes make up 17.7% of all road deaths, whereas in Greece the figure is close to 40%, making Greece one of the most dangerous countries in Europe for motorcyclists.
There is a motorcycle or moped for every 10 Greek citizens, the highest ratio in the European Union but fatalities stand at 39 motorcyclists for every million citizens.
This number is much higher than for Italy, where the fatalities-to-residents ratio stands at 23 per million, France 17.3 per million, Portugal 17 per million and Spain 14.7 per million .
The message is stark. If you do hire a motorbike or moped take the greatest care on the Greek roads and avoid riding at night.