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Drive with caution

In Bali you see it everywhere. People riding scooters without helmets and doing crazy things that you would never get away with in your own country.

The hospital is full of crazy young kids that came for a holiday and ended up with serious injury. The message here is simple take extreme care.

I ride everywhere in Bali on my scooter as a local expat as I believe it is the easiest way to get about. Often taxis and cars get gridlocked in traffic jams that cause frustrating delays. The road system in and around Kuta is simply not designed to cater for the volume of traffic it now has. Scooters can be rented from almost every corner at a daily price of about 40,000 IDR per day or about 500,000 for a month. there seems to be only two options it is rare to find anyone willing to rent for the week. I always rent by the month as it works out considerably cheaper. Make sure that you also get a helmet and the bike registration papers.

The local police just love to pull up westerners riding scooters in Bali they seem to think it is like a ATM on wheels. They pick you out of a crowd for any simple thing. The law says you must ride with a helmet so if you choose to run the gauntlet and not wear one then you become a prime target for the vultures that prey on your stupidity. It can cost you an on the spot fine of about $25. If you object and make an issue then you may be arrested it is much easier to pay the cash. Of course you never get a receipt. It goes straight into their pocket. I have even been pulled over for wearing a helmet but not having the chin strap done up securely. In small back streets you will usually get away with no helmet but not on major roads. A balinese person is exempt from wearing a helmet if they are traveling to or from a ceremony but in reality many locals never wear a helmet but they dont get a ticket either but westerners are a different story. Rarely police will ask for a drivers licence but they will always check for the registration papers of your scooter. An international driver licence is best but a foriegn driver licence is OK too.

You will find the road rules very different from western countries. It seems that you could get away with almost anything. The main trick is not to wait for the other driver to give way to you. If you wait you will get trampled in the rush. just merge like everyone else but gently and slowly. If you see a slight gap just go for it! the other drivers will expect you to do it. But watch out for the idiots with attitude they are easy to spot. They are usually young hoons without shirts or helmets that speed in dangerous situations. A lot of them will end up with missing skin or broken limbs, they also cause a lot of accidents to other riders.

Happy travelling and stay safe.  

Last update on 31 January 2011 12:50:58

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