A long-standing state of resentment against large motorcycles traveling in convoys across Bali was rekindled by a single incident involving the island's governor that has precipitated a police crackdown on the large number of the bikes known to reside in Bali without proper registration and tax receipts.
Governor Made Pastika was traveling privately in his home region of Buleleng, North Bali on Saturday, April 23, 2011, when a convoy of large motorcycles forced him off the road near Baturiti. One of the bikers is reported to have almost struck the governor's car, worsening the situation by allegedly feigning a kick and making a menacing hand gesture at the car carrying the island's chief executive.
Following the incident the governor's spokesman told the press, "the governor is saddened by the arrogant behavior of the big bike drivers and their 'over-acting' on public streets." Adding: "They even showed their fist to the governor's car while revving their engines . . .this is just too much! The roads do not belong to them, they are also used by other members of the public."
Further underlining the bad press and poor image currently enjoyed by big bikers, Beritabali.com reports that when a large convoy of bikers from the Indonesian Big Bike Association (IMBI) visited the Lake Beratan recreational area on Saturday, April 23, 2011, the bikers pushed to be given special discounts for their admission tickets, reportedly forcing their way into the area without paying the published price.
In response, the operational manager of the area, I Wayan Mustika, denied the press reports insisting only a small delegation from the group of 250 motorcyclists were granted admission with a discount after having applied in advance in writing for the reduced rate.
Following the incident with the governor and upon hearing of the governor's displeasure, the chairman of IMBI in Bali, Ariyono, made a formal apology. Said Ariyono, quoted in Kompas.com: "We have already sent a formal letter to Governor Made Mangku Pastika from the Indonesian Big Bike Association. However, there is still no response.. Because of that, we need to apologize to the governor via the mass media while waiting for his agreement to make time to see us."
The incident between the motor cyclists and the governor occurred when more than 200 large bikes were visiting Bali from across Indonesia for a national gathering of IMBI members. The chairman of the organizing committee for the gathering, Anak Agung Putu Ngurah Bagiarta, excused the rowdy behavior, claiming in mitigation that the out-of-town bikers didn't recognize the governor's car.
And Now the Crackdown Begins
Kompas.com reports that the governor has asked for a crackdown on illegal and unregistered large motorbikes. The governor's spokesman told the press on April 25, 2011, that Pastika has asked provincial taxation and revenue officials to inspect the large bikes and confiscate those without the proper permits and tax receipts.
A Gracious Governor
The State news agency Antara reports that Governor Pastika has acknowledged and received the apology offered by the IMBI. The governor's spokesman said: "the governor Mangku Pastik had forgiven them. But he has done this with the clear understanding that similar incidents will not happen again in the future."
The spokesman went on to say that anyone using public roads must follow traffic rules in order to avoid disadvantaging fellow residents. He also revealed that closer cooperation has been instituted between the police and the province to check the legality of large motorbikes operating in Bali.
Police estimate that there are at least 349 large motorcycles currently operating in Bali in violation of tax and registration rules.
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