Friday, April 28, 2017

Please exercise extreme care when riding motor bikes in Asia - including Bali

May I plead with the 1.1 million Australians who holiday in Bali each year to take extreme care if riding motor bikes there.

I have spent 45 years traveling to, and living in, Indonesia and often have used my own transport. Driving anywhere in Asia is NOT like Australia for several reasons.

Only on last Thursday night a 26 year old Australian woman was killed after crashing her motor scooter in Canggu, north of the popular district of Seminyak. She was reportedly not wearing a secured helmet.
Not only do many Australians not wear appropriate clothing and footwear whilst riding motor bikes in Bali, very few understand the road culture that is so critical to keeping them safe on Asian roads.

A car that comes out of a side-street has a 98% probability of being driven through the stop sign and pulling out in front of you without warning. Most locals expect this, but Australians don’t, as this usually won’t happen back home.

The other factor was that many roads in Bali, and in particular the newer tourist locations such as Canggu, have very poor lighting and when combined with drains, potholes, dogs, and erratic driving creates a very dangerous driving environment; particularly at night.

If you must ride a motor bike, make sure you drive whilst wearing proper clothing, solid footwear - not thongs - plus use a good a quality helmet, and preferably one that does have a strap to secure the helmet to your head!

Also, in the past six months local ‘mafia’ gangs have targeted areas such as Canggu, and controlled taxi operations with charges back to hotels in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak costing tourists up to five times more than usual. As a result of the action by these local thugs to inflate taxi prices late at night, more foreigners have decided to ride their own hired bikes to places such as Canggu, in order to save money.

Sadly, this can end up costing them the ultimate price.

Ross B. Taylor AM is the president of the Perth-based Indonesia Institute (Inc)

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