Saudi Arabia Lets Women Ride Bikes for Funzies

Yay! Bitches can ride motorcycles in Saudi Arabia now, because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban on women driving motorcycles and bikes. The new religious laws allow for women to ride these two-wheelers in parks and "recreational areas," but still requires them to wear a full, head-to-toe abaya while doing so. (Alas, they have yet to budge on the driving ban, which dozens of Saudi women protested in June 2011 by getting behind the wheel in a day of action.)

It's strange that the Kingdom's religious police, who are notoriously obsessed with any inkling of sexual misconduct, especially regarding women, are letting them engage in an activity that involves straddling a vibrating machine. What about the risk of overstimulation? What could the thrilling feeling of speeding through the dusty streets of Riyadh unleash in the psyche of a Saudi woman? Clearly, the Kingdom's religious police have not thought this one through.

The new rules don't allow women to use bikes as transportation, rather only for entertainment. A Saudi official told the country's Al-Yawm newspaper that women shouldn't ride near men to "avoid harassment." Duly noted. But a male guardian must also accompany a woman on her joyride, lest she find herself riding to biker bars and getting herself into trouble. This is true of most activities women attempt to do outside the home in Saudi Arabia, but again, straddling a bike with a guy is seems pretty touchy-feely for the Kingdom, even through a full-length abaya. Maybe the religious police will suggest sidecars?

Regardless, the lifting of the ban means we're one step closer to an MIA-esque emergence of female Arab stunt drivers. Fingers crossed the Kingdom's religious police haven't seen the "Bad Girls" music video yet.

[Salon]