Saudi to let women ride bikes, buggies

Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive or travel without being accompanied by a male relative
Saudi to let women ride bikes, buggies
By Courtney Trenwith
Tue 02 Apr 2013 10:07 AM

Saudi Arabia will lift a ban on women riding buggies and bicycles in public – as long as they are accompanied by a male relative, according to local Arabic daily Al Youm.

Bikes and buggies can only be used for recreational purposes and not as a means of transport, the newspaper quoted a source within the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the kingdom's religious police, which was responsible for lifting the ban.

Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive or travel without being accompanied by a male relative, although foreign women were already allowed to ride buggies and bicycles.

According to Al Youm, women using the buggies or bikes must remain modestly dressed and avoid riding near groups of young people “to protect themselves from physical or verbal harassment and possible theft”.

A male relative should be present to help in the case of an accident.

However, Samia Al Bawardi, the head of an NGO for the victims of car accidents, warned that riding bicycles and buggies while wearing the traditional Muslim clothing could be dangerous.

“Wearing abayas - the coverall worn by Gulf women - and erratic driving could result in terrible accidents,” she told Al Youm.

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