Drivers running taxi services or tours in Nusa Penida, Bali, are urged to adhere to local speed limits. Many communities in Nusa Penida have come forward to express their fear that incidents will become more regular and serious as collisions start to increase due to speeding.
While there have been several incidences of note that local communities have reported to the police, villagers are urging tourist drivers to slow down regardless. There are also reports of pedestrians suffering broken bones after being run off the road and motorcyclists that have had to serve to miss oncoming cars ending up in ditches and fields.
The Head of Nusa Penida sub-district, I Komang Widyasa Putra, told reporters on Monday afternoon, 26th September, that the issue has been heard by local authorities. He said that tourism drivers have been called in to discuss the issue. The Regent of Klungkung, I Nyoman Suwirta, also confirmed reports that the problem is being taken seriously from a local government level.
Putra explained, ‘We, the leadership [team], hold meetings every quarter. We will make this issue one of the ingredients…Furthermore, I will coordinate with related parties, in this case, the police. As an evaluation, it is necessary to control the skills of the driver as well’.
Putra further suggested that the issue must be addressed quickly as communities fear that not doing so may impact tourism. He said, ‘It is very necessary to maintain the image of Nusa Penida, especially the drivers who carry their passengers to maintain order together. Not only serving their service users but also the safety of the community, especially road users’.
According to Putra, local residents have used social media to voice their complaints about reckless drivers. He confirmed, ‘We have trained how they [tourism drivers] can provide good service not only for tourists who use their services but also other road users’.
Despite this, the complaints have been mounting up. Putra confirmed that the local government, police, and tourism drivers will meet again and evaluate the situation. Where more training is necessary, it will be provided. He hopes that with these meetings, a ‘mutual agreement’ will be met.
Jana, a local politician from Banjar Ampel in Pejukutan Village, told reporters that there are traffic collisions almost every day on Nusa Penida. Jana acknowledged that sometimes tourist drivers were speeding to get their passengers back to the boats in time for their transfer back to mainland Bali. Nevertheless, she stated, ‘Speed cannot be used as an excuse, because comfort and safety are very important’.
Jana warned drivers that in the ‘digital era’ they cannot get away with speeding. Her niece was recently hit by a speeding car while walking through her home village. As local residents get more annoyed and fearful of reckless driving, they are taking videos of the incidents as they occur. She said, ‘However, not all drivers are like that (reckless), many are already orderly in traffic. Let’s maintain the image of Nusa Penida tourism together’.
Although the issue is being tackled by the local government, police, and driving association, tourists are reminded that they too can play a role in keeping the roads safer. If a driver is driving recklessly, tourists are encouraged to speak up. If they feel unable to do so and wish to report an incident, they can contact the local Nusa Penida police or their tour operator.
While the vast majority of drivers in Bali and the surrounding islands adhere to local road rules, there are dozens of reports of drivers speeding and taking reckless liberties to get their guests where they want to be in the name of ‘good service. Speed limits are in place throughout villages and rural communities in Bali and the surrounding islands to keep local people, livestock, pets, and wildlife safe.
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