If you think the authorities want to ban motorbikes or make life difficult for riders here, spare a thought for Vietnamese riders and women riders in some Muslim countries.
Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, has approved a plan to ban motorbikes from its streets by 2030 to reduce traffic jams and pollution.
It is a ridiculous move since the roads will soon be jammed by cars as the nation’s wealth has rapidly increased and last year car sales rose by more than 30%.
Surely cars should be banned in the city and motorcycles allowed to keep traffic flowing.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, a Belgian study found that when 10% of drivers swapped to a motorcycle, scooter or moped, congestion was reduced for all road users by 40%. When 25% swapped, it was eliminated.
The Hanoi ban follows a similar move in Paris, Mexico City and New Delhi to reduce pollution. In Paris, it applies to pre-2000 bikes and pre-1997 cars.
Ban on women riders
Meanwhile, the latest Muslim country to ban women from riding motorbikes is Palestine.
It follows similar bans for modesty or moral reasons in various Asian, African and Middle East nations.
Palestinian women have now been banned from riding or even pillioning on motorcycles by Hamas after a woman died in a motorcycle crash at the weekend in Gaza. She was riding pillion with her son behind her husband.
The Hamas Interior Ministry says that under the new rule women will be banned from riding and being pillion. Riders will be fined if they have a female pillion.
“It is time for Gazan society to put an end to the phenomenon of women using motorcycles,” the ministry says in a statement.
“This does not suit our society socially or morally. Nor does it fit with Muslim rules and regulations, as women’s use of motorcycles can easily disclose their sensitive parts.”
Activist Ebrahim Al Madhoun has supported women’s use of motorcycles and condemned the ban as a violation of freedom of the entire society.
He says it is unnecessary as Gazan women riders dress “appropriately in decent clothes”.
It’s also impractical and unfair as the war-torn region has serious fuel shortages and no cheap alternative transportation is available.