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Bali motorcycle crash is a lesson for all


A British rider who crashed while riding without a helmet in Bali now faces medical bills estimated to be almost $A100,000.

It’s a good lesson in not doing as the locals do — not wearing a helmet when riding — and in getting relevant travel insurance.

Reuben Armstrong, 27, was riding a motorcycle in Denpasar when he lost control on a corner and ran into a wall.

He was not wearing a helmet, so his travel insurance company has refused to pay for his medical bills.

Reuben in Bali

Reuben suffered a fracture to the left side of his skull which could affect his speech.

Doctors had refused to operate until £12,000 in medical bills were paid.

So his family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay his medical bills which they estimate to be almost $100,000.

They have raised more than half already from more than 400 supporters.

Click here to help Reuben.

Riding in Bali

Bali is a popular place for Brits and Aussies to holiday and a fantastic place to ride a motorcycle as most of the population do.

However, one Aussie tourist dies every nine days in Bali, typically in a drunken scooter crashes. Reuben was not drunk at the time of his crash.

While most locals don’t wear helmets when riding, it is an offence to ride without a helmet in Bali and offenders can cop an on-the-spot fine.

Bali scooter crash
Bali is a beautiful place to ride … but dangerous

If you try to bribe an officer, you could cop an extra fine.

Yet many tourists choose to flout the law and run the risk.

We suggest that all riders heading overseas take extra care to acclimatise to the traffic and learn the roads and the road rules.

Road rules and traffic behaviour can be radically different to what you would be used to.

Riders should also ensure they have adequate travel insurance to cover them in case of an unfortunate accident.

  1. Sad that this happened. You really have to be on the ball out there and take responsibility, with a serious mindset. When I lived in Indonesia for a bit, I was frequently an ojek passenger without a helmet, going in the opposite direction as the traffic flow, etc. Not gonna lie – on occasion I did this even after a few drinks, which was stupid, but hey ho that’s our generation. I never actually rode myself there – it struck me as a very stressful place to ride. If you’re going to do it, make sure your house is in order. The most important lesson is: you need really good insurance cover (I was lucky to have this through my employer) because the only medical provision worth having there is private. In addition, you should know where the local hospitals and medical centres are, so if you do have an accident, you know where to direct the taxi (yes, there are ambulances but you have to pay for rides in them). If you crash, as a foreigner you will get the blame, and any other party involved will know this, and will squeeze you for money. The legal principle in force there is: whoever is best able to afford it is liable for damages, regardless of fault.

    It is not the sort of place in which I’d ride. The risks you take as a motorcyclist should be calculated ones, not throwing a roulette wheel and hoping for the best. Prepare for the worst or just don’t ride. Ride in Australia or a place you know, not a place you think you know.

  2. ATGATT for me. My wife’s a nurse. She said one of the worst jobs she had to do was scrub gravel out of people after a motorcycle fall. Maybe riders should have to witness that as part of getting their licence. They show you “horror” movies of workplace accidents as part of your worksite training – this might work the same.

  3. This is a subject that does not get any publicity in the popular media, and you are doing a great job by spreading the word. I had no idea that there were so many Australian tourists dying in Bali. Unfortunately, most of the people who need to know this, probably don’t read your wise words. Hopefully some of the news media will pick this up and run with it.

  4. Was in Bali just 2 months ago… lots of local riders having their helmets strapped to their arms as they ride…. I would not ride a bike in Bali if my life depended on it.

    Traffic is crazy in the towns.

    Might be different away from the coast.

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