The Straits Times
Published on Jan 08, 2013

Indonesia women's groups reject motorbike straddle ban


JAKARTA (AFP) - Rights groups urged the Indonesian government on Tuesday to block a proposed law banning women from sitting astride motorcycles in deeply Islamic Aceh province, where the position is deemed "improper".

The mayor of Lhokseumawe city in Aceh, where sharia law is enforced, circulated a letter on Monday explaining the obligation for women to sit side-saddle was "to avoid immoral acts".

"Adult women who are riding on the back of a motorbike ... cannot straddle unless in an emergency," mayor Suaidi Yahya's letter read, adding that the ban included women straddling female drivers.

The official explained last week that women sitting astride motorcycles would "provoke the male driver" and that it would be against Islamic law.