An Indonesian city is trying to bring in a law to ban women from straddling on motorcycles while sitting behind male riders. The law which is yet to come into effect states that women can only ride sidesaddle. Lhokseumawe, a city in the conservative Aceh province, is where this absurd idea cropped from nowhere.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country that uses Sharia law. Mayor Suaidi Yahya stated that the new law would save women from violation of the Sharia law. He stated that passengers who ride sidesaddle on bikes are safer and rarely fall off while at the same time it protects the honor of women. He also stated that woman straddling looked more like a man while side saddle made a woman look more ladylike.
The ban is expected to come into effect in some months while at the same time it has prompted widespread criticism. Women of Lhokseumawe were opposed to the lay as they state it is discriminative and ignores their rights of women.
In September 2009, Aceh Provincial Government also introduced the law disallowing men to wear shorts, women to wear tight trousers and jeans as these items of clothing were deemed offending. When women objected, stating that skirts and dresses would be impractical when riding motorcycles and scooters the mayor found an alternative solution when he ordered female passengers not to straddle behind male drivers. The law, if becomes active, will only apply to Muslims in Indonesia, which is another reason for criticism from Muslim activists.