Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rules of the Road in Bali

The first and most important thing to remember is that in actual practice there are no rules for safe driving here in Bali, or for any other kind of driving. With this in mind, I will set forth a few points of general reference which may serve in the daily death match of vehicular interaction.

1. Pay no attention whatsoever to the road signs, for they are
A. Wrong. and so
B. Superfluous, and
C. May well distract your attention from what is imminent; i.e. the car and/or motorbike bearing down on your ass from behind or from either side.

2. Pay no attention to the traffic lights, for they are
A. So rare that drivers are inclined to forget what they mean, and
B. Are generally considered an annoyance, causing a reduction in speed, and so universally ignored,
C. Always remember that both Red and Green mean Go.

3. Never bother to use your turn signal. This reveals to other drivers that you intend to turn in one direction or the other, and so gives you away, allowing other drivers to race forward and cut you off.

4. Always make liberal use of your horn. It is a good exercise for otherwise inactive digits, keeps other drivers angry and on edge, and has a pleasing sound compared to Gamelan instruments.

5. One Way is not a restriction, it is merely a physical reality. You cannot go more than one way at one time, and so as long as you are going one way or the other, you're fine and safely within the bounds of natural law.

6. The rule of the road here in Bali is that one drives on the left. Therefore, do so if you find you really have to.

7. A sidewalk is not a path for pedestrians but an extension of the road.
A. Trees are to be avoided if at all possible.
B. Pedestrians have feet, let them run.
C. School children are particularly expendable.

8. Do stop for the policemen who have machine guns. The ones who are just waving their arms may be completely ignored.

9. When dropping your child at school, teach him the art of "bailing out," not just getting out. This practice ultimately makes life safer for both you and the child.

10. Never, never leave more than 1/4 inch between your front bumper and another vehicle's rear. It's just not done.

Happy motoring, all! Be safe!

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