Renting A Motorcycle in Bali Was A Really Bad Idea…

Warning – The images below might be too graphic for those with sensitive hearts! You have been warned!

Before going to Bali, I read a lot about renting a motorcycle to roam around the island and discover places that couldn’t otherwise be discovered if on foot or with larger tour groups. At that moment, I thought: let’s get an international driving license so I can drive a motorcycle (or a scooter) when I will get in Bali! Oh, I guess I should point out the little detail that I had never ever driven a motorcycle or a scooter before.

Bali Motorcycle Accident

I thought that it would be just like riding a bike, but with a little more power. So when we got in Ubud, a cute city in the center of Bali, we looked to find a place to rent a motorcycle (which is pretty much everywhere). The guy asked me if I had experience driving a scooter. “Yeah, yeah… Of course…”

I think he figured out that it wasn’t quite true when I wobbled a little bit on my first start. But I managed to get going! What I found hard was to get going after a complete stop. Well, actually, what I found easy was going in a straight line at a constant speed. Yeah, I think it’s better to say what I found easier than what I found harder… 😉

So we got going for a while, and then decided to take a right turn, followed by a tight left turn and a tight right turn just after that. And all those turns were going uphill.


The first two turns were fine, but I took the third a little too wide, and perhaps a little too fast. And that’s when the front wheel went off the asphalt. Up until there, everything was still okay. But a second later, and the wobble came back, and without having time to think about it, I went from riding a motorcycle to flying over a motorcycle.


The wheel going off the asphalt wasn’t a big deal in and of itself. But trying to get back onto the asphalt was what sent me flying.

So needless to say, after a flight over a motorcycle, my hand were… Perfectly fine. Yup. I didn’t hit the ground with my hands. Not one scratch on them. How lucky was I!

So where could all the blood be coming from then?

From my chin. Yup! I took the impact right on the chin.

You never wish to be injured while travelling. You know it’s a possibility. You plan for it. You make sure you have insurance, a first aid kit, numbers to call, a list of clinics or hospitals that are safe and recommended as per our standards. But you still never wish to get injured.

And now I was injured. Hopefully, a family of Indonesians saw us fall and came right away to help us. They took me on the motorcycle we rented and brought me to a clinic nearby. And they brought my cousin to the clinic on their own motorcycle. They were so nice that they stayed with us while we were in the clinic and they helped straighten the front wheel of the motorcycle.

So there I got 5 stitches or sutures, whatever you call them. While they didn’t speak much english, they used sterilized equipment and did a good job of cleaning and closing the wound. I was afraid about how much it would cost me. Good thing I have insurance, I thought. But then they told me the price for the sutures and the medicine: 15 $CAD. Hah! Well, okay!

All in all, the medical bill for this visit to the clinic, a subsequent one to another clinic downtown Ubud to have the wound cleaned and get more medicine, and a final visit in Gili Trawangan to get the stitches removed cost me 80 $. And 80 $ for the damage to the motorcycle…

Do you want to see a chronology of my face during the healing process? Here we go!

Bali Motorcycle Accident

Bali Motorcycle Accident

Bali Motorcycle Accident

Bali Motorcycle Accident

Bali Motorcycle Accident

It was an inconvenience, but all in all, everything turned out fine. I was even able to scuba dive a week after the accident. From our planned scuba diving schedule, I only missed one day. And now I have a nice little scar to remind myself that I should take some motorcycle lessons before hoping again on one.

The moral of this story? I have a few actually:

  • Don’t lie to the guy renting you the scooter. He knows that you have no idea how to drive it!
  • Always have travel insurance. I got lucky, it didn’t cost much, but an accident happens so fast…
  • Bring a first aid kit with you. While they gave me medicine, I had trouble finding some bandages and cleaning supplies in the city. I found some eventually, but it was helpful to have a little stash.

Oh and I forgot to say: How the heck are you supposed to shave that part of your chin with a healing scar on it? It’s been months and I still scratch it sometimes and make it bleed!

Have you ever had any bad lucks while travelling? Tell me more in the comments below and how it turned out!
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One Response

  1. Modern Day Sinbad November 23, 2015

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