At school, seven-year-old kids in Bali learn about the rules of the road; like to walk on the left side of the road, to cross the road at zebra crossings, and for drivers to stop at traffic lights when they are red. Two years later, when they get their first brand new Honda 110 cc motor bike, they find out that what they learnt at school can be turned on its head.
So here are the rules of the road for the current generation of nine-year-old kids:
1. Overtaking on the inside is great fun, older motor bikers hate it; they expect you to take them on the outside only – at least that’s what they learnt when they were at school (you too)!
2. Driving with due care and attention is for your grandmother.
3. Texting with both hands whilst driving hands-free is a tad dangerous but gets the old fogies real mad – ‘cause they know they will never be able to do it!
4. Taking your six week old baby sister with you on your motorbike as you do your morning run – exercise we call it – is great fun; you learn to balance things not only on your head but also in your lap; the best riders master doing this whilst also texting friends hands-free.
5. Thrill seekers drive as close as possible to the vehicle in front – best if it’s a truck, then you’re sure you can’t see what he sees; being able to overtake or even stop while tail-gating him gets you stripes you can be proud of.
6. Latest statistics show that one in ten motorbike drivers don’t wear a helmet, for which the fine is half a million rupiah ($ 50). As the police never stop you if you don’t wear a helmet anyway, driver or passenger, why bother – this is money you can bank!
7. Never use your mirror when driving – remember it is not a beauty contest!
8. Having a 150 cc motor bike means you have to be in front to show who the boss of the road is. Getting there sometimes has a cost – waiting for the girl driver in front of you to move out of the way – but then there is always that great rear end view while you wait!
9. Best of all is talking not on your phone – but to your mate behind you – or better still – to mates driving either side of you – doing this AT SPEED separates the men from the boys – or real women from mere girls!
10. But the one that really takes the biscuit – if you are brave enough to try it – is to drive on the wrong side of the road swerving through the oncoming traffic – then listening for the crunch of metal as they run into each other! As so few of us have done this one yet, we are still trying to work out the points you deserve! Emergency Departments really love this one – it gives them something to talk about while setting the plaster casts on our arms and legs – well at least until coffee time!