Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
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.