Driving In Bali
Anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac; any one who drives slower is an idiot. George Carlin
Driving in Bali is a delicate balance of swerving, dodging, gunning it, and sitting patiently in traffic.
You will share the road with anything and everyone. From giant Pariwisata (travel) Buses, chickens, stray dogs, and bakso carts to the guy riding a motorbike carrying a 12-foot ladder while texting on his mobile phone.
There are 1.76 million private vehicles on Bali, of which 20 percent are cars and 80 percent motorcycles. Add in all the tour buses and taxis and it is easy to see why people bitch and moan about the traffic here.
If you are here on a Surf Trip and want to drive yourself, here are some observations and hard-learned rules from the mean streets of Bali that might come in handy:
- The bigger vehicle wins.
- No one, NO ONE looks when coming out of a driveway or parking lot etc. it is your job to avoid them.
- People are hell bent on passing one another.
- Always wear your helmet.
- Keep small money in your pocket and larger bills hidden away, you will get flagged down or caught in a Razia (police road block/ Id Check) and have to pay on the spot fines.
- Learn to use your horn.
- If a car is coming at you in your lane and they flash their lights, they are coming through.
- Some Motorbikes like to drive without headlights at night.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Concentrate on what’s only in front of you, what’s behind you is what’s behind you.
- The lane divider is more of a suggestion.
- You need a keen eye to discern if a stoplight is green or red, when in doubt just follow the car in front of you at traffic lights.
- Branches or leaves on “parked” cars/trucks mean they are broken down.
- People will park on blind curves.
- If involved in an accident, it probably will be your fault even if it isn’t.
- Some Potholes are big enough to swallow a car, get to know where they are, the Govt. is in no a hurry to fix’em.
- Do not go pass the white line at stoplights.
- Do not make any sudden movements, slowly ease your way into one lane from the other with your blinkers on, and always use your turn signals.
- You will be passed on both sides even if there isn’t a road.
- Remember the phrase Jam Karet and just roll with it.
Oh, And If you do not know how to ride a motorbike this is no place to learn.
Sort out an International license before you come.
There is a method to the madness it just takes awhile to understand all the subtleties that is driving in Bali.
In The End Why not just hire a car and driver, that way you wont have to deal with the chaos and can just chill out and watch the world go by or at least the motorbikes.
If you really want to drive yourself, take it easy and cruise.