What Road Safety?
Recent overtures from the authorities here in Bali about how they aim to crack down on what amounts to a free-for-all on the roads appear to have fizzled out even before the measures were announced. The orchestra, far from making beautiful music, failed even to take the stage.
Even with police posts at intersections, blasé motorists remain emboldened enough to blatantly ignore the colours of traffic lights, demonstrating both their ignorance and their lack of respect for rules and the law as they dart through and zigzag oncoming vehicles.
Motorbike riders view pedestrian pavements as an extension of the roadway, and take them over wholesale when traffic is backed up. Is it any wonder that the footpaths are in tatters or that people from all over the world who come here to holiday cannot walk on them?
Two weeks ago – as reported by The Bali Times – the traffic police said they were embarking on a campaign to sweep the streets clean of reckless drivers, people who flout the law and behave as though they are on some kind of private racetrack.
Police also announced they would be launching an education programme so that members of the motoring public who apparently are unaware of the rules of the road would be made to understand them. (How, we wonder, did they manage to obtain their driving licences? The required written test includes a questionnaire on road rules and signs.)
They said – again with a flourish, at which many Indonesian institutions are past masters – that fines and jail terms would be applied to any miscreants, police promised.
This is all hubris. There is no clampdown. There is no attempt at it. And there is no sign that law and order will prevail on the frequently deadly streets and roads of Bali.
At a time when there are increasing numbers of vehicles in Bali, and the thoroughfares ever more chaotic and gridlocked, the authorities would do well to make more than a make-believe effort at control.Filed under: Editorial