Balinese Road Etiquette

by Andrew Stein

After a week in Bali, I’ve both ridden in a car and on the back of a motorbike. (The down payment on one of these motorbikes is about $30 USD.) Most roads have one lane going in each direction, and sometimes not even that. Everyone drives at whatever speed they feel most comfortable, and therefore, there is usually a lot of passing and being passed. And although we usually stayed between 40 and 80 km/hr, going around 60 km/hr on a small motorbike is an exhilarating experience. I was wearing a helmet, although I’m not sure how much that would actually help if there was a serious accident. More important was that my driver, Dive Master Ketut, was a husband and father of four and needed to provide for his family, so I knew that he would drive safely. That said, the weave of bikes , cars, trucks, and pedestrians had more elements of chaos than order, and I was happy that I was not driving. And finally, to add another variable, the potholes scattered throughout the roads are avoided by all travelers adding an extra bend to the already complicated weave.

driving in the rain

chicken crossing

I forgot to mention the occasional chicken crossings.