I have ridden a bicycle in many places. Here are a few strange bicycle rules or laws:
In Mexico, don’t lift your feet off the bike pedals
Close to home, did you know that bicycles are not allowed in swimming pools in California? In Connecticut, it is illegal to ride a bicycle over 65 miles per hour (100 km/hour).
Another strange one: Applicable to a slightly larger group is a law in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin USA, which states that no rider of a bicycle shall remove both hands from the handlebars or practice any trick, acrobatic or fancy riding in any street in the city nor shall any bicycle rider carry or ride any other person so that two persons are on the bicycle at one time (unless a seat is provided for the second person).
In Iowa, “a petition is currently being circulated to ban all bikes from roads considered ‘farm to market,’ (state or country roads that connect rural or agricultural areas to market tows) because “shared roadways are no longer safe or practical in today’s society.” That would deny a significant portion of the less-trafficked roads cyclists and motorists now share to bicycles, and one imagines increase motor traffic.”
In North Korea (For Women)
Since the mid-1990s, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has declared it illegal for women to ride bicycles. Since 70% of households own a bike, there’s undoubtedly a lot of illegal riding, as bikes for transport and to aid the commerce at local markets is well-known. Enforcement of Kim Jong Il’s purported ruling banning females on bikes is said to be uneven, and involves a fine, rather than directly jail time. Bicycles were also banned up until the ’90s in the capital city of Pyongyang.
In Saudi Arabia, Women Can’t Drive or Bike
While it’s hard to fathom, Saudi Arabian women are forbidden from driving or cycling ‘on public roads.’ According to this Utne story, Saudi clerics considered bicycles ‘the Horse of Satan” back in the 1960s, and author Marwan Kraidy says a permit was required to ride one. Things have changed, of course, but gas is cheap and cars are king. The official injunction doesn’t mean women never drive or bike, simply that they aren’t sanctioned activities, though economic conditions may eventually allow these rules to be softened.
Leave it to the French: Meanwhile in France, the original 1799 Parisian law making it illegal for women to wear pants in public was amended in 1909 to permit ladies to wear pants while on bicycles. Thank goodness for that. That said, it is great to see women pedaling their bicycles in Vietnam while wearing skirts and high heel shoes.