Bali Plans to Ban Tourists From Renting Motorbikes – In response to a string of traffic rule violations by foreign visitors, Bali intends to prohibit tourists from renting motorbikes, according to the island’s governor Wayan Koster. As part of the upcoming modifications, foreigners will only be permitted to operate rental cars from travel agencies.
“As tourists, you should act as tourists, using the vehicles prepared by travel agents, instead of roaming around with motorbikes, without wearing T-shirts and clothes, with no helmets, violating traffic rules, and even without a license,” he said.
Koster said the policy was aimed at tackling disorderliness as the tourism sector recovers from the pandemic. “Why now? Because we are currently tidying up, as during the Covid-19 pandemic we couldn’t have possibly done that because there were no tourists,” he said in comments quoted by the Kompas news outlet.
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In 2019, Bali welcomed 6.2 million international visitors, who play a crucial role in supporting the island’s economy through their spending. However, reports of inappropriate or illegal behavior, including on the roads, have tested the patience of the local community towards tourists.
Over the past few years, social media has seen the widespread sharing of videos and accounts of drivers behaving recklessly or inappropriately. One such example is a video from 2020 in which a Russian Instagram user performed a stunt by launching his motorbike off a dock.
Another recent incident involved a woman, believed to be a foreign resident, who was filmed arguing with police officers after allegedly being stopped for not wearing a helmet. Over the past few months, there have been reports of accidents, including some that have resulted in fatalities.
According to Bali media, in March, a Russian man was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol when his motorbike collided with another driver, resulting in hospitalization for both. In separate incidents in January, a Ukrainian and a Russian citizen were reported to have lost their lives.
The details of the plan to ban tourists from renting motorbikes are yet to be determined. “Further study is needed, we will then correct the wrongs. All this time, seeing the riders that I have observed on the ground, they can rent without having a licence, which then leads to troubles,” Bali’s deputy governor, Tjok Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, was quoted as saying in local media.
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There are worries about how a ban could affect the tourism industry, particularly bike rental companies, which suffered during the pandemic. In addition, Koster has urged the government to scrap the visa-on-arrival policy for Russian and Ukrainian citizens due to concerns about their non-compliance with local laws and regulations, with reports emerging about illegal employment by foreign nationals on tourist visas.
Russians constitute a significant portion of Indonesia’s foreign visitors, and many of them have remained in Bali during and after the Ukraine conflict. At present, it remains unclear whether the Ministry of Law and Human Rights will introduce stricter visa regulations for any nationality.