The Perils of Drinking & Driving — Health-e could very well be a safety-related newsletter that focuses on one topic: the careless behavior of many visitors to Bali who drive recklessly and made worse by driving intoxicated. The outcome can never be good.
Our “Self-Driving Bali Safely” article published in March, 2017, stressed that visitors should always opt for renting a car over a motorcycle or moped and add a driver to help you navigate the potentially treacherous conditions of Bali roads. As fun and carefree as it seems, skip the idea of two wheels unless it’s a bicycle!
The accidents keep occurring and BIMC is often at the frontline of these scary mishaps. Visiting Bali in May, actor Rhyce Power of the Australian TV series, Married At First Sight, nearly went from this island paradise to his place in the otherworldly nirvana after being rushed to a hospital from crashing his moped while intoxicated.
The ripped and tattooed star recovered from the ordeal though vainly added he was blessed his wounds didn’t scar his face. Said Rhyce: “My late night accident involved too many drinks and riding without a helmet.”
It’s such a familiar and disappointing story here in Bali.
The helpful travel website Bali.com spells out conditions in a sober manner: It can be tempting to drink a few Bintangs and drive back to your accommodation on your scooter in the middle of the night and save on taxi fare. But you would not be the first one who would leave Bali in a wooden box because a dog crossed your way in the darkness or a truck appeared without lights or a hole in the street was the last thing you remember when waking up in the hospital.
When Balinese build a house or do a renovation the sand, stones and building materials are typically dumped on the roadside. Nobody is offended and simply navigates around this pile, because this is how things are here.
Small stones, loose debris along with rain creates a surface where your tire loses grip easily and particularly in curves; therefore you must drive really slowly and use your horn before entering it.
Bali.com adds that if your helmet does not have a glass wind blocker then you must use sunglasses as it can be really dusty and dirty. And never drive barefoot and while sandals and flip flops are the shoe-wear suitable for all occasions on Bali, avoid driving a scooter wearing them.
Health-e urges you obtain an international license before you leave home and note they are usually only valid together with your “real” driving license. You can get a temporary Balinese driving license (tourist driver’s license) from the police station in Denpasar within a day with a cost of about US$30.
Final sobering word: Choose to lease a car and be sure you are carrying emergency accident insurance and that you clearly understand any restrictions such as driving under the influence (DUI), which is a serious crime in Indonesia should you be involved in an accident.
For medical emergencies call BIMC Hospital Kuta: (0361-761 263).