Niqabs no replacement for helmets in Saudi: female motorbike accidents on the rise
Motorcycle riding is a popular pastime in Saudi Arabia, but not just among young men and boys. Many women have taken up the recreational activity, the result being an increased presence of injured women in hospital emergency rooms.
In Alkhobar, King Fahd University Hospital announced it has delivered emergency treatment to more than 350 women and children who suffered various kinds of injuries, including fractures and suffocation, that resulted from motorcycle sand-drifting during semester-break beach and desert trips. The main reason for women riders’ injuries, said Dr. Muhammad Al-Jamaan of Jeddah’s King Fahd Hospital, is abayas being caught by the wheel.
Abdulrahman Al-Sahafi, Director of Information and Public Relations at Health Affairs in Jeddah, said there are no reliable numbers for cases of women injured riding motorcycles in Jeddah, adding that the low number of such cases in Jeddah is due to the fact the city lacks the open spaces required for such activity, unlike in Khobar and Riyadh. “Driving motorcycles in Jeddah takes place at the Corniche mostly,” he said.
Mustafa Qurban, Director of Information and Public Relations at the Jeddah Mayor’s Office, said motorcycles are not allowed at the Corniche.
“Police mostly pursue us. The number of women renting motorcycles is small,” said an owner of motorcycles.
A number of residents said many girls are seen driving motorcycles at the beach “and speeding recklessly,” said Hanan Muhammad. Some of them called for wide spaces that allow girls to practice the activity safely. “Isn’t it enough that we cannot practice the sport of walking or commute easily,” said Um Abdullah.
By Marwa Haddad
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