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Indonesia: Jakarta to Impose Partial Ban on Motorcycles

(Nov. 26, 2014) Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, is planning to ban motorcycles from some of the main thoroughfares beginning in February 2015, following a trial of the ban from December 17 of this year. The policy, designed to improve safety by reducing accidents, was announced by Benjamin Bukit, the Deputy Chief of the Jakarta Transportation Agency, on November 24. The restriction will be applied to several streets and traffic circles in Central Jakarta. It is also part of the preparation for a future scheme to impose electronic road pricing on some very busy roads. (Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta Motorcycle Ban Trial Run to Start Dec. 17, JAKARTA GLOBE (Nov. 24, 2014).)

Although the ban is based on existing law, including Law No. 22/2009 on road traffic and transportation, Government Regulation No. 32/2011, Bylaw No. 1/2012, and Bylaw No. 5/2011, the city will be adopting implementing legislation, to allow the fining of persons violating the ban. During the initial trial period from mid-December into early 2015, motorcyclists caught on roads subject to the ban would only be warned; when the ban is in full effect, violators will be fined. Bukit added that eventually Jakarta will “need a combination of law, governmental decrees and gubernatorial decrees, so that we can implement the ban … .” (Id.; Sita W. Dewi & Fedina S. Sundaryani, Trial Motorcycle Ban on Main Roads Starts in December, JAKARTA POST (Nov. 18, 2014); Law No. 22 Year 2009 on Road Traffic, Department of Transportation translation.)

Critics of the new scheme, which was originally proposed by Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, call for more effective policing to enforce existing regulations as a way to promote safety and describe the plan as mostly oriented toward reducing traffic congestion. Bukit did say that the city hopes the policy will encourage motorcycle riders to use public transportation instead; Jakarta’s bus hours will be extended and additional buses will be acquired. (Samuel Bashfield, Basuki’s Motorcycle Ban Plan for Jl. Thamrin Is Another Attack on Indonesia’s Less Privileged, JAKARTA GLOBE (Nov. 21, 2014); Dewi & Sundaryani, supra.)

Jakarta currently has two or three fatalities daily attributed to motorcycle accidents; there have been about 3,000 deaths in the last five years. It is estimated that there are nearly 12 million motorcycles in Jakarta, with 1.22 million of those added in the last year alone. (Bashfield, supra; Dewi & Sundaryani, supra.)