Friday afternoon, here in seemingly calm, safe Canggu, Bali a young girl was seriously injured as a thief snatched her bag. According to the Canggu Community Facebook group, the thief or thieves were on the lookout just outside a popular expat café, near the main road of Canggu. As the girl drove past on her motor bike, the thief grabbed the girl's bag, that was draped across her back. The girl was pulled from her bike and suffered serious injuries as she crashed. She is apparently in stable, but still critical, condition and her friends say she will be needing several surgeries and months of rehab to recover. The girl was not wearing a helmet, exacerbating her injuries. The thieves got away with her bag and have not been identified.
Please everyone! Keep safe! Never, ever ride motor bikes without helmets! That is reckless regardless of bag snatchings: dogs can run into the street, kids play on the side of the roads, cars can swerve without notice. You would be surprised at how many foreigners we see here riding without helmets, as if they were invincible. We even see parents riding with their kids, neither wearing helmets. Accidents happen daily, we have seen more than we can remember. Thankfully, we have not seen any fatalities. Yet. Just because you are on vacation, just because there are no traffic police to enforce traffic laws, don’t forget common sense. Please everyone, wear a helmet!
When riding your rental bikes, do not keep your handbags draped across your back. That makes you an easy target. Better yet, do not carry handbags at all in areas where there are known bag snatchings. Apparently this is not the first bag snatching here in Canggu, it happens regularly. Many other travelers on the various Canggu forums are telling stories of having their bags snatched, by young men riding past them on fast, strong motorbikes. Not only is it easy to steal that way, and easy for the thieves to get away, but it is is easy for the victims to get hurt. The force used is excessive and getting pulled off of your moving bike, or having your bag pulled from you when walking by someone passing by on a motor bike, involves a lot of brute force and you can get very badly hurt.
Indonesia, as many other countries in the region, still suffer from poverty in areas. When travelers come flashing our iPhones and iPads, and with money to spend, we become targets. Do not make yourself vulnerable. Hide your valuables, do not make it easy for anyone to steal from you. Make sure you have backup credit cards, make sure you have a copy of your passport for easy access. Make sure you know how to contact your insurance company in an emergency. Most importantly do not put yourself in needlessly dangerous situations; wear a helmet, wear a safety belt, don’t ride motor bikes in flip flops, drive slowly, hide your valuables! Easy things to do that can save your life! So please do them!
All too common sight, a tourist without a helmet, on Jalan Raya Semat in Canggu, Bali