Motorbike in Yogya

The availability of cheap Chinese motorbikes has caused big changes in transportation over the past decade.  Bikes are on the streets everywhere you go, filling up the spaces between cars. They don’t mind squeezing between trucks and busses too, sometimes with tragic results (they don’t often realise the drivers of heavy vehicles sometimes can’t see them). They will overtake you while you’re trying to turn, pull up directly behind you just when you’re about to reverse. It can be a little unsettling at times to hear the noise of a motorbike, which we in the West have learnt to beware of, until we remember where we are, and that an Indonesian bike rider is unlikely to be a violent person. Having said that, there are plenty of snatch and grab crimes done by bikers with pillion passengers.

The clip gives a pretty good idea of traffic conditions in a quiet rural town (in this case a very famous one). Notice the becak (bicycle rickshaw) and at the end how the streets narrow as he reaches home. Many people live in houses which cannot be reached by car.  Other points of interest are:
1:50 – when he stops at the lights, a becak driver dismounts and pushes his becak across then hops on again and rides on.

3:00 – there are cement blocks to separate the traffic and stop drivers from turning right or making u-turns.  These obstacles often cause you to drive a long way out of your way to get to a place which is just across the road from you.

4:25 – you can see what looks like tents along the road. These are warungs, small streetside restaurants. Some of the best food in Indonesia is served in certain warungs.


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