Side Saddle: Illegal?



A law that bans women from riding a motorbike in the straddling position will soon be passed in the city of Aceh. City officials in Aceh, an Islamic stronghold in Indonesia, describe this position as “inappropiate” and “improper” for the women to be in.

Leaders of this Indonesian province have also recently passed a number of new bills, including allowing the flogging of homosexuals, allowing the stoning of adulterers, and banning females from wearing tight trousers. This province is the only province in Indonesia that is ruled by strict sharia law.

Under this new law, females in the city of Lhokseumawe, located on north side of the Sumatra island, are required by law to sit in a “side-saddle” position, unless they are driving the vehicle. In the “side-saddle” position, the women’s legs dangle off to one side of the motorcycle.

The Mayor of the city told AFP on Wednesday that women must not sit astride when riding on a motorcycle because it may provoke the male driver. The law is also meant to protect the female from an undesirable or unwanted condition.

“We implement Islamic law in this province so it is improper for women to sit astride.”

Mayor Suaidi Yahya also said that Women are allowed to sit in the straddle position only if they are driving the motorbike and if they are dressed in a “Muslim way”.

Yahya is planning on making the ban public in the coming weeks. He is planning on discussing the sanctions with some local Muslim clerics before announcing a formal regulation.

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Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world. However, most Muslims in this country practice only a moderate form of this religion.

In 2001, Aceh was granted special autonomy, so it started implementing various sharia laws. For instance, authorities these days regularly cane people who are caught drinking alcohol or gambling.



  1. I think this would make a reasonable law if their purpose is to preserve or restore the norms that they have. Women should dress and present themselves properly to gain respect from society. Not just on how they ride the bike but in so many other ways. Nice post 🙂

  2. People would see this law differently especially for people who are not raised in a conservative country. For me this law makes sense. Looking at the picture above I may say that it is indeed an improper way for a woman to ride a bike like that.

  3. I’m curious of what will be the charges or penalties that would be pressed against women violators. What if non-Muslims commits the violation or tourists, would there be any exceptions to the law?

  4. I would understand banning females from wearing tight trousers as part of conserving the norms but at this point flogging of homosexuals, allowing the stoning of adulterers are just inhuman. Why not bring them to court and be dealt with due process then punish them in terms of penalties or imprisonment.


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