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Image: Bule on a bike. Credit: ST

Police have noted that foreign tourists appear to be copying local driving habits when they commit traffic violations around the island and especially in the Kuta & Seminyak areas. They have begun socializing a safety program through the local motorcycle renters association where they have asked the renters to not just rent their motorcycles, but also advise the foreigners to obey the traffic rules and register their full identities.

The Head of Traffic Education and Change at Bali Polda Traffic Unit, AKBP Nyoman Sukasena, told on Saturday, “There are many traffic violations cases by foreigners we have to handle. If there is an accident, it would be great if we can track the identity easily from the renter, so we can report the incident to the related consulate. If we don’t know the identity it is a big problem for us.”

That’s why he advised every rent company should put a sticker with the company contact number on every motorcycle since some foreigners also left rented motorcycles anywhere they feel like and police have difficulty to return them to their owners. By educating the owners, employees and rent association he hoped everyone can obey the rules.

“On several occasions when pulled over foreigners claimed that they had just been imitating local drivers’ behavior while driving themselves. They claimed that’s why they did it. For example, sometimes local people didn’t wear helmets. Foreigners imitated that. The same when the local drivers rode their motorcycles on the sidewalk, too,” he said.

He also said that the most common traffic violations were speeding, not wearing helmets, not obeying traffic signs and not possessing a driver’s license.

“We still cannot measure the effectiveness of this campaign,” he added. He said that his team had already socialized the program to several consulates and they had warned their citizens to obey the traffic rules.

“We have also talked to some travel agents over the last weeks and we socialize this campaign to rent car businesses periodically. I think in the future it will be better if we enforced these actions to make them obey the rules,” he concluded.

There were 17 serious accidents around Bali which involved foreigners reported during the first semester of 2018 including 10 in the Denpasar area, five around Gianyar and two in Karangasem.