Body Language 1
It might seem strange to comment on this, but I generally remark on the unusual.
Jakarta police say that in 2008 they recorded 5,898 accidents involving motorcycles, with 1,169 fatalities, 2,597 severe injuries and 4,317 minor injuries. They also ticketed 272,494 motorcyclists.
Given that infringements of prevailing traffic regulations by motorcyclists are commonplace, especially overloading or not wearing a crash helmet, and that there's no way the police can catch all transgressors, one can understand why venturing out is such a risky venture, especially for pedestrians attempting to cross a road using a pedestrian crossing or sidewalk - if there is one.
The other morning, I actually observed a motorcyclist looking over his right shoulder before switching lanes across our path. He had also switched on his right indicator so both he and my driver were well aware, in plenty of time, of his intentions. (Note: Indonesians drive on the left. Or, that's the supposed rule of the road.)
I never solely relied on my mirrors when biking in the UK and always checked the traffic behind me before changing lanes or turning. I also never attempted to squeeze between four-wheeled vehicles and the kerb. The only accident I had in 20 years of driving was when a motorist cut across me at a roundabout. Her insurance company treated me to a new bike - and I got a good price for my old one.
So I've lived to write this, and I trust that the first motorcyclist I have ever seen here using common road sense will have a similar lifespan.
Halfway on our way back to Jakartass Towers from Ya 'Udah yesterday evening, I mentioned to Our Kid that there were a lot of stupid motorcyclists around. Look, I said, that one isn't wearing a crash helmet. From then on we kept count for a period of 15 minutes on relatively empty roads. We totalled 91 drivers, of all ages, and pillion passengers either alone or carrying infants all helmetless.