Enough is enough: after years of tourists behaving badly and injuring themselves (and others) on Bali’s already-chaotic roads, the Balinese government has tabled plans to ban foreigners from renting motorbikes and scooters.
For many tourists – especially Aussie tourists – renting a bike and scooting around Bali is a rite of passage. But after a recent spate of injuries and deaths, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster announced that foreigners will only be allowed to use modes of transport prepared by tourism services that meet certain standards “to ensure quality and dignified tourism.”
Koster has also reportedly requested the legal ministry’s support in revoking the visas of tourists caught riding motorbikes in Bali.
“[Tourists are] disorderly and they misbehave,” Koster says. “If you are a tourist, then act like a tourist… You [should] not roam about the island using motorbikes, without wearing shirts or clothes, no helmet, and even without a licence.”
WATCH an Australian tourist making a menace of himself in Bali by doing burnouts on a rental scooter below.
While it’s probably not the worst idea in the world – we can understand why the Balinese have had enough of entitled Westerners jumping on mopeds without any driving experience and making menaces of themselves on Bali’s roads – there are concerns that killing scooter rentals will damage Bali’s tourism economy, which has already been brutalised by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only will the ban hurt local businesses, but as Bali lacks a well-developed public transport system and suffers from congestion, bikes are one of the best (and only, in some cases) ways to get around.
It’s also not clear how the government plans to enforce the ban. Indeed, many commentators have argued that the problem doesn’t lie with foreigners renting bikes per se – rather, it points to weak enforcement of existing rules by the local authorities, Nyoman Sukma Arida, a lecturer in tourism at Bali’s University of Udayana says.