Articles Photo courtesy: Saudi Gazette

Published on January 10th, 2014 | by Quad Safari


Saudi Women Swerve Driving Ban On Quad Bikes

In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is forbidden for women to drive a car unaccompanied. Recently, a campaign to remove this law has gained some support, but in the meantime, some Saudi women have been learning how to handle a motorized vehicle by riding quad bikes in the desert dunes! 

It must be quite an odd sight, to see a bike speeding across the sand with a rider wrapped all in black, but it is growing increasingly commonplace, as women apparently need only the permission of the male leader of the household to take it up.

There are concerns about safety – riding on sand can be dangerous enough without the additional risk of limited visibility while wearing a full-length abiya, which can also be caught in the wheels or engine and damaged. But for the time being it is the only legal way women can get around on four wheels.

In most cases, quad biking is seen more as a form of recreation and relaxation, rather than something that can be used practically. There is a big difference between desert riding and driving along paved city-centre roads in a car of course.

Quad biking has been popular around Riyadh for many years, and there is one 20km stretch of highway that is literally filled with hire places. Many people choose to combine it with time spent camel-trekking or hunting with falcons. Those familiar with the scene reckon the best tactic is to go as far out of town as possible – hire charges tend to be less, and there is less manmade obstructions in the way – litter can be a problem on the edges of the desert. Then it’s just you, your bike, and the sand, plus the odd thorny scrub to contend with!

Photo courtesy: Saudi Gazette.

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