Motorbike rentals are easy to arrange on Bali and opens up the island for exploration, eliminates travel timetables, and encourages adventure. This is only really an option for people who can confidently manage this type of machine because Bali is one of the worst places in the world for inexperienced riders – the roads are just too dangerous for learners. Experienced riders are encouraged to maintain a defensive attitude on the roads because this will help to keep them safe.
Advantages of Riding a Motorcycle on Bali
Visitors to Bali who choose to rent a motorbike during their stay can find that this greatly increases their enjoyment of the island. The advantages of this type of rental include:
- It is possible to ride a motorcycle to almost anywhere on the island.
- A motorbike tour of Bali will be a memorable experience – visitors who are in a rush should be able to circumnavigate the island in about two days.
- Renting this transportation means that visitors have a great deal more freedom when it comes to getting around.
- It can mean that visitors get to see places that would otherwise to too much off the beaten track.
License and Insurance Requirements for Renting a Motorcycle on Bali
It is necessary to have a motorcycle license in order to ride a motorbike on Bali, but there is not a legal obligation to purchase insurance. Foreign visitors can use an international driver’s permit, but it needs to cover riding a motorbike. If visitors to Bali do not have the necessary paperwork, it is also possible to apply for the license on the island. This involves going to the main police station in Denpasar and taking a written exam and doing a simulator test. It costs 100,000 IDR (as of mid-2013) to do this, and the license is valid for three months. If visitors are caught riding a motorbike without a license, they will need to pay a fine which can be anywhere from 50,000 IDR (US $4.85) to 300,000 IDR (US $30).
There is no requirement to purchase motorbike insurance on Bali, and it is doubtful that there would be any insurers willing to provide this type of coverage to tourists given the appalling statistics for accidents on the roads here. Foreigners who are involved in any type of accident will usually be expected to hand over some money even if it was not their fault. They will also be obliged to pay for any damage to the motorbike they rented.
Anyone riding a motorbike on Bali is legally obligated to wear a helmet. The police will fine anyone (usually 50,000 IDR but it could be much more) who is caught without a helmet but a surprisingly large number of visitors are willing to take the risk.
Where to Rent a Motorcycle on Bali
Motorbikes can be rented easily in all of the tourist areas of Bali – especially in the south of the island. There will usually be a large sign written in English outside the premises that offer this service. It is also usually possible to arrange this type of rental through a resort, hotel, or guest house.
Cost of Renting a Motorcycle 0n Bali
The cost of renting in Bali can vary depending on the type and condition of the motorbike. The two most popular engine types on the island are 100cc and 125cc – there is no point in renting anything more powerful than this because of the poor road conditons and congestion. It should be possible to rent a 100cc motorbike/scooter for about 50,000 IDR (US $4.85) (as of mid-2013) or something with a 125cc engine for about 75,000 IDR (US $7.20) – a big bike will cost as much as 200,000 IDR (US $19.40) per day. It may be possible for visitors to get a discount on these prices if they are prepared to rent for a few days. There are even some resorts and guest houses that will allow guests to use their motorbikes for free.
Dangers of Renting a Motorcycle on Bali
Renting a motorbike on Bali is potentially dangerous even for experienced riders. The chances of being killed here on the roads is far higher than other parts of the world. One Australian dies on Bali every nine days, and the most usual cause is a motorbike accidents – a similar situation exists for other foreign nationals. The number of motorcycle deaths is increasing each year – between 2009 to 2010 the number of deaths skyrocketed from 2,331 to 3,308.
There are a number of reasons for why riding a motorbike on Bali is particularly dangerous:
- The roads in many part of the island are in poor condition.
- There is heavy traffic congestion in most of the main tourist areas.
- Too many tourists are willing to ride a motorbike even though they are inexperienced – Bali is not the place to learn how to ride because it is far too dangerous.
- There are many tourists who believe it is okay to ride a motorbike after they have been drinking alcohol.
- There are many tourists who are willing to ride a motorbike without wearing a helmet.
- The locals see the rules of the road as being more like suggestions than rules – this means there is chaos on the roads.
Tips for Riding a Motorcycle on Bali
Here are a few suggestions to help visitors enjoy riding a motorbike on Bali without too much hassle:
- They ride on the left-hand side of the road on Bali.
- Riding a motorbike can be dangerous on Bali even for experienced riders – it is a good idea for visitors to do a motorcycle safety course in their home country before arriving.
- If visitors are asked to pull over by the police, they should never get antagonistic – the best way to deal with this encounter is with good humor and lots of smiles.
- Motorbike riders should always have a little bit of cash in their pocket to pay any fines (50,000 IDR is usually enough).
- Riding a motorbike in heavy rains can be particularly dangerous. The way to handle this situation is to slow down and stop as soon as feasibly possible.
- It is strongly recommended that people do not ride motorcycles while wearing just shorts and t-shirts (or even worse a thong). For the sake of safety it is much better to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Wear a helmet a helmet always and make sure that it offers enough protection for the skull – many of the helmets that people wear on the island seem to be mostly for decorative purposes.
- Always check the motorbike fully before renting it – there are plenty of machines to rent, so there is no reason to rent something that might be dangerous.
- Wear bright colored clothing if riding a bike in the evenings.
- Avoid the congested roads in places like Denpasar and Kuta.
- Never take more than one passenger – don’t engage in the local tradition of trying to fit the whole family on the motorbike.
- Always ride defensively
- Understand that foreigners will almost always be viewed as the guilty party if they are involved in an accident – even if the other person was on the wrong side of the road and wearing a blindfold.
- Be particularly cautious at intersections because these can be chaotic with nobody following the rules of the road.
- Always expect the unexpected on the roads of Bali.