Saudi women allowed to ride bikes, but there's a catch
Saudi Arabia’s religious police have lifted the ban on women to ride motorbikes and bicycles in restricted, recreational areas. According to a local newspaper an influential leader in a religious police has said that women are allowed to ride bikes in parks and recreational areas. This freedom, however, comes with a condition, which calls for women to be accompanied by a male relative, and should wear the full Islamic head to toe abaya.And as a result, they could be riding for a very painful fall. This is not real freedom at all, and hardly a step forward in one of the most rock bottom autocracies in the Islamic world.
“Women are free to ride bikes in parks, seafronts, among other areas, providing that they are wearing fully modest dress and a male guardian has to be present in case of falls or accidents,” the report read.
Samia al-Bawardi, a non-profit leader has issued warnings to women that they should not ride the bikes without the cloak. However, the safety of women riding a bike or bicycle after wearing abaya is questionable because these cloaks are very long and are not safe.
Update: The Wash. Times also notes that:
Women are not allowed to drive any vehicle under Saudi’s hardline Islamic interpretation. What triggered the lifting of the ban on bicycle-riding is still unclear.The best explanation is that they're not serious if they still don't allow women to go out without wearing abayas.