Home / News / Bali to ban tourists from renting motorbikes; here's why

Tourist in Bali often prefer renting motorbikes for travelling to different part of the cities as it is convenient and also a budget option. But now this Indonesian island is now planning to ban foreign tourists from using motorbikes after series of cases has been seen related to people breaking traffic laws.

As per Governor Wayan Koster, foreign tourists won’t be allowed to use motorcycles to get around the island after many accidents led to injuries and even deaths.

"You [should] not roam about the island using motorbikes, without wearing shirts or clothes, no helmet, and even without a licence," Governor Koster was quoted by BBC.

Under the new proposals, foreign tourist will be allowed to travel in cars provided by travel agents. According to the local police records, over 170 foreign nationals violated traffic orders from late February to early March, as reported by BBC. "If you are a tourist, then act like a tourist," Governor Koster said. As per the report, the proposed ban is likely to be implemented via regional law this year. However, it’s unclear how the ban would be upheld.

Koster has sought the legal ministry’s support to let Bali revoke visas if any foreign tourists are found riding motorbikes, or if they’re found committing other wrongdoings like illegally working or misusing stay permits, as reported by Bloomberg.

Last month, a Russian tourist was detained by the police after riding while under the influence of alcohol and crashing into a local rider, causing him to be hospitalized. In January, a Ukrainian tourist and a Russian visitor died in a road traffic collision.

On this new proposals, the head of Bali's motorbike rental organisation, Dedek Warjana as quoted by BBC, called the idea by the Governor as hurried and suggested that instead of enforcing a ban, authorities should rather focus on act on specific violations. He added that restricting foreign tourist to only allow car rentals may make traffic worse.

According to Nyoman Sukma Arida who is a lecturer in tourism at Bali's University of Udayana told BBC that a ban might damage Indonesia's reputation in other countries. He added that the rising number of traffic offences in the city raises questions on weak enforcement laws by authorities. Rather he suggested to strengthen vehicle rental system by making sure tourist have valid licence, collecting security deposits and taking strict action on tourist who violate rules.

Meanwhile, the famous holiday destination has been marred by motorcycle accidents recently. Known for its beaches, temples, waterfalls and nightlife, Bali drew 6.2 million foreign visitors in 2019, the year before the pandemic

Meanwhile, authorities in Bali have also asked the central immigration agency to cancel a visa-on-arrival policy for Russian and Ukrainian nationals after tourists were found working illegally.

Russian nationals are among the biggest groups of foreign arrivals in Indonesia, according to official tourism data. At least four Russian citizens were deported this month for visa violations and immigration authorities have repeatedly warned foreigners in Bali against working on tourist visas.

Governor Koster said that he has asked the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to tighten visa requirements by cancelling the visa-on-arrival facility specifically for Russian and Ukrainian citizens due to a series of violations. "Because they are at war, so they flocked to Bali, including those who sought comfort or came to work here," he said, according to a post on the immigration agency's Instagram account as reported by Reuters.

Indonesia allows nationals of certain countries to apply for a visa upon landing in the country, while others have to apply before departure.

More than 77,500 Russians arrived in the Southeast Asian country between September 2022 and January 2023 as COVID-19 restrictions were eased, compared with about 88,000 in the same period just before the pandemic. About 8,800 Ukrainian visitors arrived between September 2022 and January 2023.

(With inputs from agencies)

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