Saudi women traffic wardens awaits final confirmation

A Saudi woman drives her car along a street in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, in this September 27, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2017
0

Saudi women traffic wardens awaits final confirmation

JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Traffic has completed all preparations to employ women on the country’s traffic police force. The directorate is now waiting for the leadership’s green light to go ahead with the decision.

This was announced by the chief of the General Directorate of Traffic, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, who said that women would soon be employed at different traffic checkpoints, as well as field inspectors.

The traffic director general told local media that they had submitted a related recommendation to higher authorities in the Kingdom for final approval.

Concerned parties expect the leadership to ink the recommendation before Saudi women can be seen behind the wheel beginning in June 2018, the date ordered by a royal degree to enable women to drive.

Al-Bassami said that women have long been working at both the General Directorate of Passports and that of Prisons. “We have women police working at both passports and prisons directorates, and, when needed, we can also employ women at our traffic departments around the country,” he said.

The top traffic executive denied any leniency toward drivers who break the country’s traffic laws. Besides, gender, he added, has nothing to do with punishment. “All drivers are equal in the eyes of the law, which will be dispassionately enforced on both male and female motorists,” said Al-Bassami.

Al-Bassami last month said in a press conference that they are negotiating with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to use their care centers for detaining women drivers whose violations require detention.

On the sidelines of the recently concluded three-day 4th Traffic Safety Forum and Exhibition, held from Dec. 11 to 13 in Dammam, Al-Bassami pointed out that the directorate and the ministry have reached an agreement to benefit from care centers in detaining aggressive women drivers.

He had earlier noted that Article 37 of the Saudi Traffic Regulations allows women with valid international driving licenses to drive on Kingdom’s roads without the need to attend the local driving schools. However, Al-Bassami added that women with licenses from GCC states can get Saudi licenses without taking a driving test.


Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018
0

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!

Decoder

What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.