Bali to ban foreigners from renting motorbikes

Photo via Torn Tackies Travel Blog

Governor of the Indonesian island of Bali, I Wayan Koster, said that foreigners will soon be banned from renting motorbikes and scooters on the island.

He said he will request all motorbike rental shops to ban foreigners from using their services. The governor has had enough of foreign tourists violating traffic rules…

“As tourists, 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.

“They are no longer allowed to use motorbikes or anything that is not from a travel agent.”

Unruly foreign tourists occasionally rile up locals with traffic violations. In 2020, a Russian influencer came under fire after launching his motorbike off a dock into the sea as part of a stunt. Like Thailand, foreigners get into road accidents in Bali, some ending up fatal.

Business owners are worried that banning tourists from renting motorbikes will damage the island’s economy.

Scooter rental service owner Agustinus Winjaya said he will lose half of his clientele if the ban is implemented. He told ABC News

“To be frank, this issue was caused by a handful of people or just one or two tourists, so I don’t think you can force this regulation on everyone and assume everyone’s broken the rules.

“We at the rental truly support the police in taking action against tourists who use motorbikes and are reckless on the road, but the problem is actually not from the rental.”

On the other hand, the policy has garnered support from some foreign tourists. A Finnish tourist named Kristo told the Indonesian news site Detik

“Many foreigners are driving when drunk and don’t wear helmets. It’s dangerous.”

Professor of Tourism at Udayana University in Bali, Neoman Sukma Areida, said the ban would tarnish Indonesia’s reputation in the eyes of other countries.

The professor also pointed out the weak enforcement of existing traffic rules by local authorities.

Mayor Koster says the new policy aims at tackling “disorderliness” as the island’s tourism industry recovers from the pandemic. Not only does this include traffic violations, but visa violations.

Bali is cracking down on Russians and Ukrainians in particular, with the central immigration agency requesting that visa-on-arrivals be cancelled for all Russian and Ukrainian nationals due to a series of visa violations.

Russian tourist Alexander Ivanov said that if Indonesia makes it hard for Russians and Ukrainians, they will just go to Thailand or elsewhere in Southeast Asia instead. He said the policy will be Indonesia’s loss when tourists leave Bali.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, 75 foreigners were killed in road accidents in January alone. Of all road deaths in Thailand, around 75% of victims are motorbike riders.

Foreigners injured on Thailand’s roads make Thaiger headlines week in and week out for launching fundraising appeals for their medical expenses when their insurance doesn’t pay out – usually due to lack of helmet, license or complete lack of insurance policy.

Should Thailand follow in Governor Koster’s footsteps and ban foreigners from renting motorbikes?

World News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

Related Articles