Saudi Arabian women’s cycling ban is lifted if they wear a full-body abaya, are with a male relative, and stay within parks

In 2013 millions of women are prevented in law from using bicycles.

The late Kim Jong Il made it illegal for women to ride bicycles in North Korea after the daughter of one of his generals was killed riding a bike. The current leader, Kim Jung Un, rescinded the law last year but appears to have reinstated it according to the newspaper, Daily NK, Not only have women been stopped from riding their own bicycles, they are now prevented them from travelling on them as passengers. Bonkers!

The ban on women riding bicycles in Saudi Arabia has been lifted according to reports by Al Jazeera and daily newspaper al-Yawn. But with conditions.

Head of Saudi Arabia’s Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, is quoted as saying that it’s not the commission’s “job to search or follow women who drive bikes”. But an unnamed official quoted in Al-Yawn was more forthright saying; women can now ride bicycles on the proviso that they wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within parks and recreational areas.

Women are now permitted to cycle there for recreational purposes only, but not as a primary mode of transportation. What would York’s cycling strategy, or traffic congestion, be if it were the law here?

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