Arriving in Bali, I was alarmed at all the crazy road users.
Bali traffic is crazy, mind you I’ve noticed similar road gymnastics in other Asian cities and have on many occasions wondered why there aren’t more serious accidents or scrapes.
Despite the congestion in all areas of Bali, traffic flow is surprisingly patient. Centre lines mean very little and it seems that and vehicles merge and flow through lanes without indication other than a light beep of their horn. Everyone uses their horn as a ‘I’m right beside you’ .. rather than the ‘get out of my way’ road rage that we see so often at home.
My biggest surprise .. and concern .. is the number of young children that are stacked on the motorbikes and scooters!
School drop-off times are crazy! Mums’ & Dads’ often have 3 or 4 of their children hugging onto them, stacked closely together on a scooter.
When it starts to rain, a large drop-sheet is produced to drape over everyone leaving the driver peeping out of the top while maneuvering through jam-packed peak hour traffic.
Road safety helmets are not often worn, and if they are, it’s the adults wearing them not the children! Almost as if a fashion statement was needed, the coolist young ones stand proudly on the front wearing brightly coloured sunglasses.
Balance is key
Good balance is obviously essential as these motorbikes are used as the primary transporter of everything imaginable in Bali. Motorbikes transform from school commuter vehicles into courier vehicles, mobile food stalls and many are used to carry tools of trade for their owners .. loaded to the hilt!
It became a bit of a mission during our time in Bali to photograph the scooters and motorbikes of Bail, especially those that were loaded up with children, equipment, food stalls and other bits and pieces.
Tourists and locals alike scoot around on rented motorbikes as an economical form of ‘go anywhere’ transport. Golden haired surfers juggle the busy roads on their scooter with one arm wrapped around their surfboard as they head down to catch the waves at Uluwati and other popular surf beaches.
So the real question is — next time we visit Bali should we do as the locals do, live dangerously and join the bike riding crowd?