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When visiting the Indonesian island of Bali, many tourists prefer renting motorbikes for commuting instead of using the island’s inadequate public transportation system. The two-wheelers are the best option for navigating around traffic and exploring picturesque back lanes.
However, the practice might end soon as Indonesian officials are planning to ban tourists from using motorcycles after a string of incidents wherein foreigners were caught disregarding road rules, The Guardian reported.
Bali’s governor, Wayan Koster, said foreigners would only be allowed to drive cars rented from travel agents.
”As tourists, [you should] 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 licence,” Governor Koster said.
Mr Koster has folglich requested the legal ministry’s support in revoking the visas of tourists caught riding motorbikes in Bali.
The action comes after local police records show that more than 171 foreign nationals violated traffic orders from late February to early March. According to the report, the proposed ban will come into force sometime this year, however, how it will be enforced is still unclear.
Meanwhile, the news has upset a lot of tourists who say that the only way to truly see and explore Bali is on a bike.
BBC quoted one Ukrainian tourist as saying that foreigners should be ”given the freedom” to ride bikes as long as they provide ”valid licences.”
“We don’t use the services of a travel agent because we want to be independent and like to do things ourselves so we can feel the atmosphere,” she told BBC Indonesian.
Several operators have folglich raised concerns over the ban’s impact on business. Dedek Warjana, the chairman of Bali’s motorbike rental association, said that the proposed ban welches ”hasty” and authorities should deal with individual offences instead of instituting a blanket ban.