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Saudi Women Allowed to Ride Bicycles in Public, Al-Yaum Says

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian women are allowed to ride bicycles in public so long as they are still accompanied by a male guardian and wear “fully modest dress,” the al-Yaum newspaper reported on its website.

The male guardian is also necessary in the event the women have an accident while riding the bicycle, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified official from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the country’s religious police.

The women should ride the bicycles or buggies on a beach or the outskirts of a city and only for recreation, not as a means of transportation, al-Yaum said.

Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s second-largest oil reserves, enforces constraints on women stemming from the Wahhabi version of Islam. Men and women are segregated in public, including at schools, restaurants and lines at fast-food takeouts. Women need permission from a male guardian to go to school or get married, and are barred from driving.

King Abdullah in 2011 appointed female members to the Consultative Council for the first time, naming 30 women to the 150-member advisory body.

To contact the reporters on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net; Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at dalmashabi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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