Those of you who have experienced the traffic in some parts of Bali may think we are a bit crazy to consider riding motorcycles. We need to be able to get around easily, and I can’t imagine we would be happy paying drivers daily to ferry us to the school, shops, out to lunch, to friends etc..

Rob on the back of a motorbike
Rob on the back of a motorbike in Cambodia with no helmet, back in the carefree days!

Having our own transport will give us the freedom to move about whenever we want and assimilate into Balinese life without feeling like tourists all the time. It should be cheaper too.

Considering we have a young family to look after, my first thoughts were whether we would be covered by insurance. In a bad case scenario, if either of us had to be airlifted back home with a severe injury, the cost would be very high. I do not have the actual wording here, but I understand that generally to be covered by travel insurance requires you to have a valid licence to ride that class of vehicle in both your home country and in Indonesia.

There is a lot of information and misinformation online about riding a motorcycle legally in Bali, and the regulations are not very clear. I hope I don’t add to the confusion, but I think I have a good grasp of the situation.

If you are not concerned about insurance, then the rest of what I have written is not really relevant. You can just ride unlicensed like many people do and pay off the cops if you get caught. You will probably be OK, unless you are not. That is not a risk I recommend nor will I be taking.

I have read online that, like many other things in Bali, if you pay the right fee you can get the appropriate local licence fairly easily. So potentially the Indonesian licence can be taken care of, hopefully with a valid licence acceptable to the insurance company. Back home in Perth, if you have a regular car licence in Perth (WA), you are able to ride a 50cc on the road on a car licence.

So with a WA licence, we should be set to ride low-powered scooters in Bali? Not quite. Unfortunately, 50cc bikes are not readily available, and secondly, we might struggle to convince the travel insurance company about our legitimacy to ride bikes in Bali even though you can in Perth. An international driver’s permit with the motorcycle section marked would do, but they will not fill it in that way without a valid motorcycle licence in Australia. I cannot see a way to ride motorcycles in Bali without first going for our motorbike licences here in Perth before we go, and that is not going to happen.

So maybe not motorcycles, then a car it may have to be, or a pushbike … I’ll have to look into that.

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