Police have confirmed the death of a 33-year-old Ukrainian tourist in Bali. The man, known by his initials DR, is believed to have passed away in the earlier hours of Tuesday 10th, January after driving off the Canggu Shortcut into a drainage canal.
Drivers found his body around 8 am, and police and the emergency services arrived shortly after. The incident has triggered a conversation online, with many questioning how the emergency services managed the scene and even more people calling on drivers across Bali to abide by the law and drive with more care.
Police confirmed the incident to the media on Tuesday afternoon. The Head of Public Relations of the Badung Police, Iptu Ketut Sudana, told the press “The victim’s motorbike was identified by the “Sakura Scooter Rental” sticker on the front of the motorbike. Receiving information that a person had died, North Kuta Police officers immediately went to the scene. Regarding the motorbike, the owner of the vehicle confirmed it, and the victim was the person who rented it”.
He continued, “TKP investigations have been carried out, and witnesses have been examined. It is presumed that this victim died after experiencing a traffic accident.”
The police issued a statement confirming the graphic head injuries that DR suffered and confirmed that he was not wearing a motorcycle helmet. His injuries are believed to have been caused when his head hit the concrete banks of the drainage canal.
The incident was confirmed by police in the afternoon; however, within moments of DR’s body being discovered, videos were already circulating online. Police did not close the Canggu Shortcut during their investigation, nor while DR’s body was recovered from the collision site. His name was published online before police had made an official statement and likely before his family was even informed of his passing.
One online commenter wrote on a post shared by Bali Living, a social media page, “Why is the shortcut open, where is the police, where is the tape blocking off the area, why is the scene such a zoo … poor man. Why are there no authorities at the scene clearing out the area and keeping people away? Where is the Banjar? How many people have to fall and die in that ditch before whoever is in charge of that neighborhood installs some barriers? Why can the shortcut be closed for politicians to take a walk during the G20 but not for a police investigation and victim retrieval? Absolutely insane.”
The incident hit newsfeeds just hours after a video went viral of a tourist dancing while driving. The woman driving was holding onto the handlebars with one hand while dancing the other in the air. She did not wear a helmet and was wearing shorts and a crop top.
And late on the 10th of January, the social media account The Canngu Pole shared footage on its stories of another tourist standing on the seat of his moped driving while through central Canggu. The caption on the IG story reads, ‘this screams deportation to me,’ accompanied by some more explicit descriptions of the driver’s behavior.
The online debate is going around in circles. Everyone can agree that drivers, both local and foreign, need to take more precautions on the road. But each group seems to be pointing the finger at the other and then back again at their own community. Many are calling on the police and provincial government to do more to control traffic, enforce the law with more vigor, and to improve road conditions, especially in Canggu.
Officials in Badung Regency confirmed to the media late last year that funding has been allocated to Canggu for road improvements in 2023. However, land acquisition remains in progress to widen roads and improve overall safety for drivers.
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