When it comes to go-to destinations in Asia, chances are Bali in Indonesia is on the top of many people's lists. The picturesque landscape on the coast of the Southeast Asian country draws in tourists by the millions every year, with a lot of them resorting to motorbike rentals to get around. That said, this could all be about to change following several incidents involving foreigners on motorcycles.
Indeed, the government has plans of banning tourists from renting scooters and motorcycles as locals' patience with unruly riders grows thin. The governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, stated in an article published by The BBC, that the ban is set to be implemented sometime in 2023. He stated that instead of motorcycles, foreign tourists would only be allowed to rent cars provided by the travel agencies in the area. "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, and even without a license,” the governor said.
In a similar story published by The Guardian, several accidents have been reported in recent months, with some accidents being fatal. Most recently, early in March, 2023, a Russian tourist was arrested for alleged drunk-driving on his rented motorcycle, following a collision with a local driver. Furthermore, in January, 2023, two separate accidents resulted in the deaths of two foreign tourists.
It goes without saying that the tourism industry is at the heart of Bali's economy, and the economic benefits brought in by tourism goes well beyond the bounds of Bali, but the rest of Indonesia, as well. However, the government is pushing for the ban in order to safeguard the safety of both the tourists and locals.
At present, the details of the ban have yet to be finalized, as further study is needed to address its implementation. A total ban on motorcycle rentals could potentially suffocate local businesses who provide bikes for rent. On top of this, a ban this extensive could stifle tourism as a whole, as lots of folks travel to bali to experience the freedom and independence offered by moving around on two wheels.
Sources: The Guardian, BBC