Saudi Arabia

Saudi women ‘will be allowed to ride motorbikes and drive trucks’, but other repressive rules remain

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 December, 2017, 11:34pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 December, 2017, 11:34pm

Saudi Arabian women will be allowed to drive trucks and ride motorcycles, officials have said three months after the kingdom announced a historic decision to end a ban on women driving.

In September, King Salman issued a decree saying women will be able to drive from next June.

The Saudi General Directorate of Traffic gave details of the new regulations that will follow the lifting of the ban on the official Saudi Press Agency late on Friday.

“Yes, we will authorise women to drive motorcycles” as well as trucks, it said, adding that the royal decree stipulates that the law on driving will be “equal” for both men and women.

There will be no special number plate for cars driven by females, it said.

But women involved in accidents or who break the rules of the road will be dealt with at special centres that will be established and run by women.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from driving and its maintenance is seen around the world as a symbol of repression in the Gulf kingdom.

The decision to allow women to drive from next June comes after decades of resistance from female activists, many of whom were jailed for flouting the ban.

However, Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women and they will remain.

Under the country’s guardianship system, a male family member – normally the father, husband or brother – must grant permission for a woman to study or travel, among other things.