Bali’s notoriously deadly roads may yet be transformed into highways of order, but only if police adequately carry out their tasks and uphold Law No. 22 2009 on traffic safety and crack down on everyone in violation, not just passing tourists from whom easy money can be extracted.
The law, which is newly in effect, contains a raft of measures for ensuring motorists’ and passenger safety on our roads. Of particular interest to us in Bali are the legislation’s provisions for motorcyclists’ wellbeing: the basics of wearing a proper helmet (now government-standardised) and riding a working vehicle that is properly equipped with safety features, including mirrors.
Our hospitals are brimming with the results of motorcycle accidents, including foreigners on holiday or working here. Up to now, a great many riders do not adhere to any safety measures, including the rules of the road. The results are catastrophic, and frequently deadly.
A law, however, is only as good as its enforcement. While Bali Police ostensibly endeavour to maintain their failed “Safety Riding” campaign, they must start to get tough on every motorist who is in breach of laws and regulations. Let us look at one recent example of failure to enforce: Late last year a regulation was passed requiring all motorcyclists to have their headlights on during daytime hours. Police posts around the island reminded people of the regulation with clearly displayed signs. A few months on, however, and the overwhelming number of motorbikes on the streets have their lights switched off. Here, the public does not bother to adhere to a rule because the authorities do not clamp down on offenders.
Therefore, if anything is to become of the new law, aside from the usual consignment to a dusty drawer, it will be at the behest of the police.Filed under: Editorial