A Vancouver family suffering through a horrible loss wants to send a warning to help keep other travellers safe on the roads.

Twenty-eight-year-old Tyler Tkachyk’s life was cut short when he was killed in an accident on the Thai roads in January. The people he was riding with said he was having issues with his scooter.

"He started passing the fella that was in front of him and said, ‘hey my brakes are failing,’" explained Andy Tkachyk, Tyler’s dad.

Apparently, he hit a rock, losing control and crashing his bike. The Tkachyk family says other riders he met in Thailand reported there was nothing they could do, except pay tribute in the spot where he died.

The police report blamed speed, but the family isn't buying it.

"No, not at all. Not when his friends said his brakes failed," said Usha Tkachyk, Tyler’s mom.

Thailand has a terrible road safety record. The World Health Organization lists it with the second highest traffic fatality rate in the world, with more than 24,000 deaths a year.

Scooters and motorcycles account for most of those deaths at an average of 48 deaths a day.

Travel Canada warns to avoid driving or riding a motorbike in Thailand, saying many Thai drivers show reckless disregard for traffic laws. Even taxis speed and traffic law enforcement is reportedly lax.

"I've been in countries where someone would have no problem renting me a scooter or a motorbike even though I don't have the proper license," said Allison Wallace with Flight Centre.

Helmets are mandatory in Thailand, even for passengers, but Travel Canada says many don't meet international safety standards.

Tyler was wearing a helmet when he crashed, but it failed to save him.

The Tkachyks want a more thorough investigation into his death and the scooter that may have caused it, but even if they can't get answers they want others to learn from their tragedy.

“We know we cannot bring our son Tyler back but the only thing that's going to give me comfort now is that no other parent should go through what we're going through," said Usha, “We shouldn't be doing this. We should be grieving but in my heart I know we need to do this so that it doesn't happen again."

According to government statistics, 189 Canadians were killed last year in accidents while traveling, and that doesn't include those whose families didn't reach out to Global Affairs for assistance.

So what precautions can you take?

  • Research the company where you'll rent cars or scooters and check website reviews
  • Make sure you check the equipment, testing the brakes and checking tires
  • Make sure you have the right rental and medical insurance