The tragic story of Erran Braddick, a young Australia who is in a coma as a result of a motorbike accident in Bali is a stark reminder to travellers about the importance of travel insurance and self-applied common sense. As the story goes and it is sadly one that has played out so many times, Erran was riding a motorbike in Bali having no license and no helmet.
It is an all too often occurrence in Bali and other parts of Asia and with so many Australians and particularly young Australians attracted to these destinations and activity, perhaps more needs to be done with the authorities to get their laws enforced. In fact, there are now laws in Bali that a helmet must be worn when riding a motorbike. Having been in Bali myself recently, I would say that it was very obvious to me that the vast majority of locals did have a helmet on (albeit perhaps not the two children on the same bike) but far more than I had noticed on a prior trip a few years back.
The problem now appears to be one of compliance and applicability to foreigners actually complying with the law. To hire a scooter for the day costs about AUD$6, the bike comes with a helmet for that price and given the traffic it is a great way to get around. The problem is of course that the company that hires the bike out, can’t control what the person who has taken the bike does and there is no check as to if the person hiring has a licence or has actually even ridden a motorbike on the road before. For the Australian travel industry, I guess we can only do what we can to get the message out that the tragedy that can come from a fall in Bali from a motorbike and particularly when no helmet is worn is serious.
For the Braddick family, they are now looking to raise money to have Erran airlifted home for further treatment at a heavy cost which suggests to me that either the wrong or no travel insurance was in place. Again this is a far too often occurrence and while DFAT and the travel industry do all we can to get the message out there that travel insurance is not a luxury but a necessity, it comes to the old saying you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
One of the great charities that have formed in Australia to help educate young people about this exact situation is the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation for the details. Education continues to be a key driver in trying to get people to understand the risks and of course the importance of travel insurance no matter what the personal circumstances are. We all will no doubt be thinking of Erran in his battle and hope for a safe return to Australia.