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April 2, 2013

Saudi bicycle ban lifted?

Word spreads of alleged change in law.
Graphic by Mohammad Sharaf.

UPDATE: According to Riyadh Bureau, Saudi Arabia's religious police chief told Al-Hayat the matter of women biking was never under consideration for a government ban or allowance. Abdul-Latif Al Alsheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, says that it's not the commission's "job to search or follow women who drive bikes".

On Monday, Saudi daily al-Yawm cited an unnamed official as saying women can now ride bikes in parks and recreational areas. According to the official, the ruling stipulated that women must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. They are allowed to bike for recreational purposes only, not as a primary mode of transportation.