Atlantic Cities

Saudi Arabia Will Let Women Ride Bicycles — But Only For Fun

Saudi Arabia Will Let Women Ride Bicycles — But Only For Fun
Jamal Saidi/Reuters

Could Saudi Arabia's laws restricting the free movement of women be softening? Reports from the country's Al-Yawm newspaper suggest that women will now be able to ride bicycles and motorbikes in the Saudi kingdom.

This being Saudi Arabia, there are of course several caveats: Women on bicycles must wear the full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and restrict their two-wheeled gallivanting to recreational areas.

Still, could cycling help increase women's mobility in a country notorious for its restrictions that forbid women to drive?

Not so fast, says the unnamed official who spoke to Al-Yawm. Saudi women may only use bicycles for fun — not for transportation.

Top image: A Saudi woman rides her Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Beirut. Jamal Saidi/Reuters.

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at The Atlantic Cities. He lives in New York. All posts »

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