Bali gov’t mulls banning foreign tourists from renting motorbikes

Police ticketing a shirtless motorcyclist for not wearing a helmet. Photo: Handout by Bali Police
Police ticketing a shirtless motorcyclist for not wearing a helmet. Photo: Handout by Bali Police

Amid a spate of incidents involving foreign tourists on motorbikes violating traffic rules, Bali Governor Wayan Koster says he has plans to ban them from renting motorbikes altogether.

In a press conference at the Bali office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Denpasar yesterday, Koster said that, under a proposed rule, foreign travelers would no longer be able to rent motorbikes. Instead, international tourists would only be allowed to hire car drivers via travel agents.

“So borrowing or renting [motorbikes] would no longer be allowed. That may be implemented starting in 2023, or after the COVID-19 pandemic,” the governor said, adding that it was impossible to apply this rule during the pandemic due to the lack of tourists in Bali. 

According to Bali Police, from February to March this year, 171 foreign nationals have been caught with traffic violations, with offenses such as driving without helmets or without driver’s licenses.

Foreign tourists are known to prefer renting motorbikes in Bali due to practical and economic reasons. 

Yoga (not his real name), 37, who runs a motorbike rental in Denpasar, said that the proposed prohibition would only create more problems for the Balinese people and especially rental businesses who rely on foreign tourists.

“If the problem is unruly tourists on motorbikes, then the solution would be to tighten the requirements for them to rent and apply them uniformly,” he said.

“In addition to that, there should be regular checkpoints and strong law enforcement against traffic violators, both foreign and local.”

Yoga added that forcing foreign nationals to only rent cars would only exacerbate the island’s traffic congestion problems.

Reader Interactions


  1. Overkill – pun intended.
    Look at the problems. They fall into 3 main groups..

    Failure to observe the traffic regulations.
    This is mainly motor bikes – helmets, licensing and apparel.
    It’s a policing problem, or should I say police inactivity. It should be regular and more frequent particularly in the high volume tourist areas.
    Fines and penalties, as in most countries, should increase with repeated offences. Bikes should be impounded for serious and/or repeat offenses.
    Continuing repeat offenders passport held until the fines are cleared or deportation. It was done with covid.

    Lack of or little riding experience. No valid license.
    Hotels, pondoks are licensed and required to get passport details of guests.
    Vehicle hire places should be the same. Required details are passport, address in Bali and legal license number. A copy given to the hirer to show if needed.
    No validating paper? Fines and the bike impounded.
    Private hire? Almost every village has access to photocopying to collect the required docs.

    Incidence of accidents, injury and deaths.
    While many happen, they are still a relatively small proportion of the number of bikes hired.
    Many seem to involved unlicensed or riders ignoring traffic regulations. This is a policing problem.
    Booze is often involved later at night. Hard to police and prevent. Maybe blood alcohol % should be regulated and tests done on anyone hospitalised. Not just a fine, but it would cancel any insurance a licensed rider has.

  2. There is a fairly easy solution to this problem. If you are a perminant or semi perminant resident, get a Sim C like any other resident. If you are on holidays you can only hire a motorbike if you hold a bike licence in your home country. I feel too many come to Bali with no motorbike experience and think they can just hire a bike and do what they like with little or no riding experience. Even with a home country bike licence there is some adjusting required to local riding rules and etiquette.

  3. What’s he smoking?
    Does he really think tourist will hire a car and driver/ojek to move around?
    How does he propose compensating the 100s, maybe 1000s of people relying on the income from rentals?

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