Indonesian City Forces Women to Ride Sidesaddle


An Indonesian model demonstrates how to sit side-saddle, but this probably isn’t what the leaders in Lhokseumawe had in mind.

Lawmakers in Lhokseumawe from the religiously strict province of Aceh in Indonesia, issued a new edict that drew condemnation from feminists and civil rights activists. Operating under strict Islamic Sharia Law, city leaders issued a law banning women from straddling motorcycles behind male passengers. Considering the riding position “improper,” lawmakers essentially forces female passengers to ride sidesaddle when riding with a man.

“Women sitting on motorbikes must not sit astride because it will provoke the male driver. It’s also to protect women from an undesirable condition,” the town’s Mayor, Suaidi Yahya told AFP. “It’s improper for women to sit astride. We implement Islamic law here.”

Critics were quick to respond, saying the government should focus on more important matters such as alleviating poverty or curbing violent crimes. Alas, Lhokseumawe lawmakers remain unswayed.

But it’s still okay for women riding behind other women, or a man riding passenger behind a woman, right?

Silly question. Of course not.