The first thing you’ll notice after leaving Bali’s airport is the overwhelming number of scooters on Bali’s roads. They weave in out and of traffic, buzz by you as you’re stuck in traffic jams, and somehow it all seems to function smoothly in Bali’s traffic.. From children in school uniforms heading to class, to entire families of four or five, to ladies in miniskirts and high heels, everyone it seems in Bali has a scooter.
Hiring a scooter in Bali will allow you to get out of the tourist centers, it will reduce your reliability on relatively expensive or unreliable public transport. You will need to think carefully about the decision though as it holds some serious safety concerns. If you are a surfer, make sure that you rent a scooter with surf racks attached to it. The racks are a great and safe way to transport your board with you from spot to spot, and will help you to save on the costs of hiring a taxi cab each time you want to head off to a new surf spot!
If you are a single traveler needing to just zip around Kuta or Ubud on quiet roads to view the temples or take in the beautiful scenes from beach to rice fields… this would be a serious consideration.
But before you sign up for one, you better make sure you’re really skilled at riding a motorbike. According to BaliDiscovery.com, Denpasar’s Sanglah General Hospital reports a traffic-accident casualty rate of 150 people… every day. (source) Consider this a warning: if you’re not a capable, experienced motorbike rider, don’t even think about renting one in Bali.
Requirements for Renting Scooters in Bali
You must first be able to present a valid international drivers’ permit that specifically covers motorbikes. You can get a temporary one at the Denpasar Police Office by completing a written test you recieve a permit valid for three months.
Helmets are compulsory for motorbike riders in Bali. The rental company will have helmets available for you but we would highly recommend buying or bringing a decent one along with you. The most common injuries from motorbike accidents in Bali are Head injuries. No helmet or ineffective helmets are not a real option. (source)
Insurance is not compulsory. Ask the rental agency about insurance, and if none is forthcoming, ask about their policy for damage. Motorbike-riding tourists are at a disadvantage in Bali, as foreigners are usually expected to pay up in the event of an accident – even if they aren’t at fault. Also make sure your international medical insurance is valid and you know the procedures in place in case of emergencies.
Costs and types of bikes
Motorcycle rental costs vary, and are often negotiable, depending on how long you need it and the shape the motorbike’s in. Shop around and see what your options are before hiring the first one you see. Motorbikes tend to come with 100cc or 125cc engines. You don’t need more than 200cc to go thrashing about Bali on two wheels; the roads (and the traffic) don’t encourage speedy driving, anyway.
Motorbike Riding in Bali – Tips
- Keep your motorbike keys on a chain or lanyard. Ageing motorbikes often have loose keys, so they sometimes fall off the ignition while the motorbike is in use.
- Check your medical insurance covers you. If you don’t have a licence and take a risk to hire anyway…. your medical insurance may not pay out. Not an option considering the accidents stats.
- Stay on the left side of the road.
- Be careful at intersections. It’s not uncommon for drivers to not look carefully when turning into your road. Also, many drivers speed up when the yellow or red light go on, increasing the danger for drivers unused to relaxed traffic rules in Bali.
- In Bali, the larger vehicle has right of way. So when it’s you versus a truck… the truck wins.
- Honk your horn when negotiating blind curves, as it’s not uncommon for drivers to drive in the middle of the road when approaching curves.
- Get a decent helmet
- Lower protection– The obvious disadvantage is a lower protective barrier. The only protection you have, besides being a quick, defensive driver, is clothing and helmets. Helmets are easy to find and most drivers around Bali wear them. Helmets are relatively inexpensive; (Mr. King’s fancy, transformer-like helmet with built in sunglasses and airflow vents was $50.)
- You’ll always have messy helmet hair.
- It’s dirty – Without the protection of car windows, the road dust lands right on you. All our helmets have a full face mask, but we still feel a bit gritty if we’ve taken a longer drive on our scooter.
- Uncomfortable for longer journeys – Our max time on a motorbike is about 30-45 minutes, which gets us around Ubud just fine. For longer journeys to the beach or to other parts of Bali, we hire a car and driver for the day ($25-40).
- More ‘road’ options & faster – The roads are narrow and there is a lot of traffic on them. Often times, cars get stuck in it, while motorbikes can zoom past on the side. There are also paths that are wide enough only for motorbikes.
- Cheap fill ups – Filling up a motor scooter usually costs $1.40 per fill up. Our monthly gas bill is roughly around $4 US.
- It’s much more fun than a car – There is a reason that people love to ride motorcycles. The wind, the feel of the road, the closeness of everything.
Short List of Motorbike & Scooter Rentals in Bali
Bali Motor Bike
Phone: +62 818 05386017
Phone: +62 361 7450884, +62 361 438814
Phone: +62 361 7428804
Bali Oto Rent
Phone: +62 81 2366 8609