By Farah Jamil
When I was still a student at the sprawling Karachi University—I spotted a middle aged woman riding a Honda 70 inside the campus. Sometimes a man sat behind her. Our group of friends would laugh at the odd sight—some of us wished we could ride motor bikes too.
Now more and more women are coming out riding motorbikes on the streets of Karachi, defying social barriers. Authorities have started issuing licenses to women bike riders.
DIG Traffic Police Karachi, Dr Ameer Sheikh came out on social media saying that the law of the land does not restrict women from riding motorcycles. A separate branch of license office would be built for women if the need to do so rises in future.
A lot of people around me raise eyebrows over this simple act of securing independence by women. Bikes are cheaper than cars—and they are an easy mode of transport.
The other day, a friend argued that a woman cannot ride a motorbike because it is not allowed in our religion. I fail to see how a woman riding a motorcycle would be against the tenets of one’s faith. It troubled me when I heard that a woman was sent to jail in Saudi Arabia for driving a vehicle.
In India, women ride motor bikes as there are no cultural restrictions.
I must say that it is not religion but our socially sanctioned rules which define how women may sit as passengers on motorcycles; uncomfortably side saddled.
The media should play a role in promoting motor bikes among women. The odd few women will soon become a norm.
Men sit back and relax— for the women are ready to speed the streets of Karachi on their motorbikes.