To enjoy the island paradise life on Bali, it's essential to start by taking care of basic needs for comfort and safety. Sometimes, newcomers are captivated by images of pristine beaches with turquoise waters, an abundance of colorful fruits, and they may forget about more down-to-earth matters.
We talked about the top mistakes of newbies on the island in another article, we advise you to read it.
The question of transportation becomes a concern for many newcomers after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to walk to the nearest store. If you're planning to stay for more than a week, relying solely on taxis can become expensive. The only logical solution is scooter rental. You've probably watched plenty of videos about Bali, where everyone cruises on scooters, and shirts and hair epicly fly backward. While the videos are cool, the reality of getting on a scooter falls on your shoulders, and that's when another challenge arises.
For many tourists, riding scooters is not their forte. To avoid silly injuries like scraped knees or worse, and prevent additional expenses for scooter repairs, experienced instructors offer their services for training.
You won't need international driving licenses or proof of driving skills for scooter rental. This might seem convenient on one hand, but on the other hand, any mode of transportation poses a potential threat to your health and the safety of those around you. This is especially true in an unfamiliar traffic environment without regulated traffic rules and amidst the diversity of contrasts that can be quite distracting.
Speaking of rental providers, we recommend the services of Balimotion. They offer both short-term and long-term scooter rentals to suit your preferences. Their team is ready to answer all your questions and even assist in finding an instructor. Additionally, they provide the convenience of delivering the scooter to your place of residence, offer high-quality service, and, most importantly, provide insurance.
Advice from an expert
To understand the deceptive simplicity and the seriousness of safe scooter operation, you spoke with a driving instructor with 17 years of experience, including international teaching experience in Southeast Asia, trusting their expert opinion.
"Any mode of transportation is a source of increased danger, and if a person who does not know how to operate it is behind the wheel, the level of danger increases multiple times.
Workers at the scooter rental service always explain and demonstrate how to operate it correctly: where the accelerator is, where the brake is, what is displayed on the display, how to use the parking brake. Is that not enough for the initial ride?"
"Perhaps, I don't know any adults and reasonable people who would ask a friend, 'Show me where the gas and brake are in the car, and then I'll figure it out in the city.' Or, if you've never danced, asking someone to show you a couple of dance steps won't make you a first-class dancer. It's the same with motorcycle technique: just knowing how to go straight is not enough. Starting your motorcycle life with such practice will not make you a better rider in the near future; you will only reinforce incorrect skills that can eventually do you a disservice."
How does an instructor help someone become that excellent dancer without hindrances? In our case, what should a beginner master for confident and accident-free riding?
"An instructor is a guide to a new world for you. They will explain the theory, help you learn and reinforce the necessary skills. For example, to perform a seemingly simple action like turning on the road, we need to: choose the turning radius, achieve the required speed, close the throttle at the right time, shift the weight correctly, monitor the position of the handlebars and gaze, open the throttle again at the right moment... And I haven't even listed all the actions. This is precisely what the instructor explains, and on the training ground, we automate the skill. In traffic, there won't be time and open road to think about this. And a mistake can cost you scraped elbows and knees or, God forbid, more serious injuries."
Even experienced motorcyclists and scooter riders sometimes get into minor accidents on the island, as there are virtually no traffic rules.
"In our classes, we always discuss the peculiarities of traffic on Bali, its explicit and implicit rules."
What else should be included in basic training with an instructor, such as yours, for example?
"We work on balance, understand why it's crucial to relax the hands and keep an eye on the gaze. We learn how to enter turns, deal with steep descents and ascents. We analyze emergency situations on the road and what to do in them, including learning emergency braking to make it effective and safe. We systematically perform a whole set of exercises that allow the student to easily solve the challenges that arise on the road."
So, it's not all that simple, but can anyone acquire riding skills?
"Mastering riding on a two-wheeler is within everyone's reach. A scooter is indeed easy to control, but only if you know how to control it."
Having excellent riding skills is half the battle; how about dealing with other road users?
"Bikers often say, 'He who has never fallen hasn't ridden.' And to some extent, they are right — we are not alone on the road. However, I have witnessed numerous falls and accidents, and believe me, most of them could have been avoided by just having a few more necessary skills."
Are there any top myths about riding a moped?
"There are several common misconceptions:
- Controlling a bike (motorcycle, scooter, moped) is no more difficult than riding a bicycle.
- Anyone can just sit and go without doing or learning anything.
- There's nothing to learn; here's the throttle, here's the brake, let's go!"
In other words, it won't work to just sit on a bike, recalling how skillfully you rode bicycles in childhood through yards and chased your grandmother's chickens. And some people even treat bicycles with a certain formality."
How to choose a motorcycle instructor?
How to choose a guide to the world of freedom on two wheels? Whom to trust with your life, health, and money? Let's discuss what to pay attention to when choosing an instructor.
1) Adequate assessment of the instructor's training time.
It is impossible to acquire driving skills and understand the theory of behavior in various road situations in 2-3 hours. Training takes a minimum of five hours on the practice ground, 7-8 hours with additional sand braking practice, and city driving with the instructor.
2) Observe how the instructor rides.
If you have the opportunity, it's good to observe how the person who will be teaching you rides a bike. If the instructor overtakes on the wrong side at 70 km/h where it's reasonable to go no faster than 30, or drives without a helmet, it's advisable to avoid such a teacher. They are unlikely to teach you safe city driving.
3) A good instructor should tell you where they trained, show an open A-category license, and have international driving permits. Their driving experience should ideally be at least 3 years. Ask how many people they have already taught and find their reviews.
4) Ask for photos/videos from lessons.
Students should be in gear. Pay attention to the exercises and the area where the lessons take place. If there are no photos, find the instructor's social media account and see how the instructor rides (point 2).
5) Lessons should not take place on the road near your home.
It is dangerous, and the instructor won't be able to set the necessary exercises for you. You will be constantly nervous about hitting a parked car/wall.
6) The instructor should have a training program, with particular emphasis on low-speed riding.
7) The instructor should have well-maintained insured equipment.
If the bike is not insured, inquire about who is financially responsible for possible bike damage. This also includes the availability of gear for students.
8) We recommend the MotoAcademy driving school, adapted for Asia.
It has been operating for five years, having trained over 1000 people. Its instructors conduct classes from Canggu to Bukit. The lessons take place on well-covered grounds, with insured bikes and complete gear (helmet, knee pads, elbow pads). Training follows the methodology of "all necessary driving skills," designed for five hours, plus two hours on sand and in the city. All instructors have at least three years of experience, international driver's licenses with category A. They teach both beginners and experienced drivers.
Wishing everyone safe riding!