North Korea ends ban on women riding bicycles

By Trina Haynes

In 1996 women were banned from cycling in North Korea. The late Kim Jong II had decreed the ban of women on bicycles after hearing about the death of the daughter of the vice-chair of the National Defense Commission. She was victim to a hit and run while riding a bike in Pyongyang. Riding a bike was also not feminine and at the time women were not allowed to wear trousers.

A public order was put into effect immediately. Bicycles lanes were established and a system of bicycle registration that included a required number plate displayed on each registered bike was issued.

The enforcement of this law varied from region to region. When an officer would appear, women would get off their bicycles and walk alongside their bike. Getting caught riding could result in fines and repeated violation could have resulted in bicycle confiscation.

The ownership of a bicycle in North Korea is seen in the same way as ownership of a car in the developed world and 70% of households use bikes daily as a source of transportation.

North Korean woman cannot only ride bikes legally again, they also obtained the right to wear pants, platform shoes and earrings. Under Kim Jong-Un’s leadership the wheels of change are definitely happening.


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