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Photos: Saudi Arabia allows women to ride bikes, but...

Last updated on: April 2, 2013 11:18 IST

Saudi Arabia allows women to ride bikes, but...

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Saudi Arabian authorities have now allowed women to ride buggies and bikes in public.

A source from the commission for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice said that under the new rules, women can use parks, esplanades and open desert areas and enjoy themselves as long as they are modestly dressed.

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Image: A female Harley-Davidson owner from Saudi Arabia sits on her bike in downtown Beirut before the start of the first Lebanon Harley Tour
Photographs: Jamal Saidi/Reuters
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A male relative should be present to ensure he can provide prompt assistance in case of falls or accidents, the source told Arabic daily Al Youm.

The source added that women wishing to ride the buggies or bikes should avoid places where there are assemblies of young people to protect themselves from physical or verbal harassment and possible theft, Gulf News reports.

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Image: Female driver Azza Al Shmasani displays a note, which according to her, was placed on her car by an unknown person, in Saudi Arabia
Photographs: Fahad Shadeed/Reuters
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However, according to the source, the women should use the bikes and buggies only for recreational purposes and not as permanent means of transport.

The commission said that it never barred foreign women from riding buggies or bicycles.

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Image: An activist holds a placard expressing solidarity with Saudi women in their fight for basic civil rights and their right to drive in front of the Saudi embassy in Beirut
Photographs: Cynthia Karam/Reuters
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Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam.

Saudi Arabia has no formal ban on women driving or riding. But as citizens must use only Saudi-issued licences in the country, and as these are issued only to men, women drivers are anathema.

The media didn't say what triggered the lifting of the ban.



Photographs: Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters
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Source: ANI