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Bali Traffic Police Targeting ‘Naughty’ Foreign Drivers During Road Safety Campaign

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Bali Traffic Police’s ‘The Great Safety Operation 2023’ is well underway. The campaign launched on 7th February and will run until the 20th of the month. The campaign is targeted at increasing road safety and involves increased traffic police stops in Bali’s leading tourist destinations. The campaign started in Sanur, with traffic officers targeting ‘naughty’ foreign drivers who disobey the laws of the road. 

Traffic Police in Bali

Traffic police have told reporters of three recurring violations they are encountering with foreign drivers. The first is violating the basic traffic rules, followed by not wearing a helmet and not carrying an international driving license on them. The campaign is designed to have a positive effect on road safety in Bali, reducing the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities on the road. 

The authorities have confirmed that so far, drivers who have been pulled over have not been issued with tickets or fines but rather have been given verbal warnings to obey the law. They shared the example of one foreign driver who was pulled over for not wearing a helmet; he was advised to return to his accommodation to collect and wear his safety equipment before driving onwards. 

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The Head of South Denpasar Police, Kompol Made Teja Dwi Permana, told reporters, “It is hoped that through the Great Safety Operation in 2023, it can increase public awareness and compliance in traffic so that it can reduce the number of violations and traffic jams.” He also confirmed that no tickets had been issued since fines cannot be issued manually anymore and are all processed digitally. 

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The issue of road safety and foreign drivers in Bali is a hot topic at the moment. The spokesman for Bali Police, Chief Stefan Satake Bayu Setianto, recently issued a statement calling on all parties to take more responsibility for road safety. He not only called on tourists in Bali to hire local drivers or make sure they have an international driving license but also called on moped rental owners to do their due diligence. 

In his statement issued on 16th January, Chief Setianto explained, “For tourists in Bali, if you want to use a motorbike or car rental service, the most important requirement is to [know] the vehicle and have an official license. If necessary, [hire] the driver is from a Bali…It will be easier if the local driver is driving their vehicle, those who know the Bali area.”

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In another statement issued just days later, Chief Setianto turned his attention to local business owners who rent vehicles to tourists. He said, “We urge rental owners, both cars and motorbikes in all jurisdictions of the Bali Police, before renting vehicles to foreign and local tourists, to be reminded when driving that they must have a [license] and comply with applicable traffic rules.


It is not just in coastal areas like Canggu, Sanur, and Kuta that traffic police will be cracking down on foreigners violating the rules of the road. Police in Gianyar Regency, home to the artistic capital of the island Ubud, have said they are taking firmer action against violations on the road. 


On 29th January, the Deputy Chief of Police for Gianyar, Kompol Marzel Doni, said his teams will meet with moped rental businesses to establish clearer structures for renting bikes to tourists. He stated, “We will definitely summon the rental owners. We will gather here for a meeting to return to them and the MoU to be firm. Those who have vehicle rentals must comply with what is regulated by law.” 


From traffic violations to illegal parking, Gianyar Police are having serious conversations about the implications of vehicles in central Ubud. On Wednesday, 8th February the Gianyar Police Traffic Unit held a community meeting to discuss the problem of parking in Ubud. The meeting was attended by Ubud’s traditional leaders and community stakeholders. They agreed they would conduct monitoring in view of a complete overhaul of the traffic system in central Ubud in the near future. 

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Tuesday 14th of February 2023

This is pure racisme! The police should do their job properly and fine everybody who does not obey the rules. The tourists see that all locals are not behaving on the road as it should be and do exactly the same. To my opinin the police is acting with double standards. Who is to blame?


Monday 13th of February 2023

How about targeting Locals? Seems to me that They are violating the law in much greater numbers.


Friday 17th of February 2023

@Firechef, When there is a roadside police blitz overwhelmingly it's locals pulled in.


Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Locals are not "walking ATMs".


Tuesday 14th of February 2023


Agree, I hate that I need to move out of the way of a local rider on the walk ways, then to move again for the "Blue riders" who are following the example of the local. I even witnessed a road crew jumping with fright when they were almost "mode" down by impatient riders, who in fact cause part of the traffic issues and they reduce the flow of all vehicles by filling in the gaps so at intersections reducing the traffic to move.

Bali traffic Mgt need to enforce road rules for all riders regardless of economic capacity , Helmets must be worn & buckled up. Introduce fines for Bule's for having children under the age of 15 on motor scooters etc with helmets in most western countries this is a road offence, so why do these parentS risk there children's live on holiday, then need go fund me to seek medical attention! enough said


Sunday 12th of February 2023

If the White folks give the locals a good example on how to obey the rules then there will not be any this discussion nor raising an issue on being picked on by the local police.

There are plenty of old snowbirds in Huahin, Thailand. For example, some old white European tourists do not even wear helmets while riding rented motorcycles on the streets of Huahin. Nonetheless, the Thai police has not single out foreign violators since they may not want to upset the foreigners while in Bali is the opposite.


Sunday 12th of February 2023

Cracking down on foreign drivers who breaking rules, while completely ignoring the local drivers who break same rules. 10 year old kids without helmets on motorbikes, with loud knalpots, driving without any licenses whatsoever. Definition of corruption and racism. Forever a "developing" country.


Wednesday 15th of February 2023

@Neneng, weeheee, already crying 'go back home'. You go evolve.


Tuesday 14th of February 2023

@Jens, Totally agree with you. Rules need to be for all riders , if you cannot afford a fine follow the rules , Local & Bule riders.


Monday 13th of February 2023

@Jens, Go back home then, you'll be better off.


Monday 13th of February 2023

@Jens, Something has to be there first to develope before it can be a developing country,lol.


Sunday 12th of February 2023

Unable to issue fines must be a big blow to local policeman. There goes a big chunk of their income. I've noticed the the police boxes on junctions have been empty since the digitalisation. At least fines will go to the goverment and can be used for what there meant for, i.e improving, maintaining and upgrading the road infrastructure.


Monday 13th of February 2023

@Steven, Don't hold your breath!