Riding a Scooter in Bali: Do’s and Dont’s

Going by scooter is without a doubt, the fastest as well as the most convenient way to go around Bali. A lot of Bali’s highlight populated streets are very narrow. Often times, these streets barely accommodate two cars. Scooters can easily slip through traffic—this is very obvious if you’ve stayed for several days in Bali for at least one time. Where cars are stuck in the congested traffic, the motorbikes are slowly but surely making their way forward by slipping through each and every crevice they could reach. However, motorcycle accidents is something extremely common, especially among tourists who are not familiar with Bali roads or simply too reckless and too drunk to drive.

Bring Your License

Do bring all of the necessary documents with you whenever you ride for safety reasons. Make sure you have your international license. Dealing with the police in Bali is not something you’d want to do on a vacation that’s supposed to be nice and relaxing. Do not ride your scooter without a license. So do your paperwork and just don’t get yourself into trouble for more than it’s worth.

Wear Helmets!

This is basic safety and foreigners seem to always heed this in their own country. But a lot of people forego this for whatever reason when they’re in Bali. Do respect safety instructions. The helmet is there to give your head protection, first and foremost. The Balinese police and by extension, Indonesian police, are notorious for their tendency to receive bribes. Don’t give the police any reason to stop you and rip you off.

Wear a jacket

When you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do. Jackets will make you blend in seamlessly with the locals on the road. Observe the locals; do they ride with just their tank tops on? Do you see the locals going home from the beach shirtless on a motorbike? Locals don’t usually do this unless their houses are very close; often times it’s very well within walking distance (but they chose motorbikes anyway—why? The Indonesians are lazy to walk in general, that’s why). Indonesia in general is by far, remains a conservative country. One of the major signs that just scream “I’m a bule” is by riding a motorbike shirtless or wearing very little fabrics covering your skin. Wearing jackets or long-sleeved outerwear is also an excellent method to protect your skin from the harsh sun in Bali and the road pollution. Do wear a jacket during your ride—or an outerwear that’s not sleeveless, at least! And please, don’t go shirtless. No matter how much you want to show off your pecs.

Don’t let your hair show

It happened less these days, but that doesn’t mean it has stopped. During traffic raids, which happened once every few months for a few days to a month-long period, the police are much more inclined to stop those who look “foreign”. Sounds racist much? It is. But very often, they have legit reasons as a lot of tourists don’t have or bring their license. If you bring your license, then good for you. But taking the extra step so that they won’t have any reason to halt you just because they see a peek of blond locks through your helmet, is wise.

Do use your common sense

Don’t drive while drunk. Don’t violate traffic signs even though you see every other people doing it. Being a foreigner, you’re subject to a more severe consequences. You don’t want that tampering with your trip. With that said, once you’ve checked everything on this list, make sure to enjoy every second of your holiday in Bali riding your scooter—the most convenient transportation method available.