RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A Saudi newspaper on Monday said the kingdom’s religious police are now allowing women to ride motorbikes and bicycles — but only in restricted, recreational areas.
The Al-Yawm daily cited an unnamed official from the powerful religious police as saying women will be allowed to ride bikes in parks and recreational areas, but they must accompanied by a male relative and dressed in the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya.
Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and bans women from driving. Women are also banned from riding motorcycles or bicycles in public places. The newspaper didn’t say what triggered the lifting of the ban.
The official told the paper that Saudi women may not use the bikes for transportation, but “only for entertainment,” and that they should shun places where young men gather “to avoid harassment.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.