In a move that has attracted much criticism, Tourists could soon be banned from renting motorbikes in Bali in a surprise threat aimed directly at the many Aussie travellers who flock to the island destination.
The announcement was made by Bali Governor Wayan Koster, following a spike in traffic violations by tourists in recent weeks.
“So borrowing or renting [motorbikes] would no longer be allowed. That may be implemented starting in 2023,” he said during a press conference at the Bali office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, according to BBC Indonesia.
Statistics by Bali Police show that between February and March this year, 171 foreign nationals were fined for violations such as not wearing a helmet or having a driver's licence, local media reports.
Despite Australians making up the largest group of tourists in Bali, they weren't the biggest traffic violators, with 56 of the 171 foreign nationals being Russian, 10 Australian and five Ukrainian, The Australian reports.
If authorities actually follow through with the ban, instead of bikes and mopeds, tourists would be expected to use other means of transport such as hire cars or car drivers — something a local motorbike rental owner thought would make things worse for local businesses and increase traffic congestion.
“If the problem is unruly tourists on motorbikes, then the solution would be to tighten the requirements for them to rent and apply them uniformly,” he told local publication Coconuts Bali.
It is unclear how the ban could be imposed, however the Bali Governor has reportedly sought the legal ministry's support to allow officers to revoke visas from tourists caught breaking traffic laws.
Bali expats react to announcement
Aussie influencer Damien Hoo, who has lived in Indonesia for years, labelled the proposal "the silliest thing I've heard come from Indonesia in a long time" in a blistering video shared on Instagram and TikTok.
Others were also quick to criticise the proposal, with people from the Bali Expat Facebook group sharing their frustrated thoughts, and some lamenting the reactive nature of the country's politics.
"This scenario would lead to a total collapse of the traffic. I cant imagine that this will be implemented," one person said.
"It was nice until it lasted. Time to find another island," another said.
Aussie expat slammed over 'embarrassing' move in Bali: 'Don't do this’
The announcement comes just days after an "entitled" Australian expat living in Bali was recorded arguing with police over not wearing a helmet while riding on a scooter.
The clip shows the woman on a scooter being stopped by police reportedly on a road in Canggu. As a police officer blocks her path and tries to get her to move off the road, the woman can be seen raising her hands and gesturing furiously as she tells him “it’s not my fault”, claiming her helmet was stolen.
Australians, (and Russians), and those six-packed shirtless beach bums: Do not do this. It's so friggin' embarrassing.pic.twitter.com/Ejh35s99o1
— Aida Greenbury (@AidaGreenbury) March 10, 2023
“We have rules!” the policeman says.
“I’ve been here for 23 years!” she fires back in Indonesian, according to a translation by Coconuts Bali. The fine was reportedly issued for riding without a helmet and equated to just $24.70 AUD.
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