Once they’ve settled into their Bali villas, many holidaymakers choose to rent a scooter to get around because there is no public transport. They don’t realise the driving rules and conditions are completely different from most other places such countries as India, China, Japan and even Indonesia. It may seem easy to ride a motor scooter too, but if you’ve never done it, Bali is not the best place to learn.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for riding a scooter in Bali.
- Always wear a helmet; make sure it fits properly and has a visor.
- Before choosing a scooter – and paying for it – make sure the brakes, lights and horn all work. Yes, you’ll need the horn, it’s an integral part of driving in Bali.
- If you are not sure where to turn or how to pass another vehicle, watch what the locals do and follow them.
- Most Indonesians use their horn to alert other drivers to their presence on the road. Don’t be shy about using yours, it’s better than having a truck cut you off.
- Locals may not use the turning lights to signal a turn, but you should. And if you have someone riding pillion, get them to shake their hand out to indicate a turn like the locals do. This can be a more visible signal in high traffic situations.
- If you get stopped by police – which is likely – stay calm, smile and be polite – and watch your wallet.
- Make sure you have an international driving license before you arrive in Bali.
- Wear sunscreen or cover up, especially on your arms and shoulders. You may not feel sunburn happening due to the breeze, but it will.
- Never wear a plastic helmet; they are not durable
- Don’t wear your bag over your shoulder when riding a scooter, just in case someone tries to grab it. Stow it under the seat.
- Don’t speed. The road surface is usually bumpy and dogs, monkey or frogs can make a sudden appearance.
- Never drink and drive; there are enough other factors to contend with, without losing your brain.
- Don’t forget your raincoat; keep it under the seat so you can pull over and don it quickly if a shower threatens to soak you.
- Do not think to survive by driving close to the edge of the road. Edges are usually broken and sand makes them slippery.
- Don’t forget, in Bali they drive on the left just like in Australia, making it much easier for Aussies to cope with riding a motor scooter.
- Don’t forget to lock the wheel and clip the helmet to the scooter when you have to park and leave it.