Motorcycle riding by women is extremely rare in Southwest Nigeria, and almost non-existent in the north because of religious and social factors. However, in the South and Southeast, Ukwuani women riding motorcycles is a more common sight – also among women in some parts of Delta State. Women travel from town to town covering several kilometers, using inner roads and expressways.
Local rider Patricia Nduka said women riding the same kind of motorcycles that men did was born out of necessity, not fun or a desire to compete with the men folk. She said her motorcycle served the purpose of taking her to and from her farm. “It is not strange to find women riding motorcycles in this place. It is because we used to ride bicycles to the farm. But carrying our load on a bicycle and riding long distances to and from the farm makes us very tired at the end of the day. Our legs end up aching. That is why we have moved to riding motorcycles.” Nduka commented that some men were somewhat jealous because they no longer had to depend on them when it came to movement on motorcycles. She said, “Some men actually feel threatened that we can do the same thing only they used to do.”
Women are more often seen using the motorcycles for transporting goods for sale, farm produce and personal commuting. The use of motorcycles and motorcycling for public transport is still dominated by men.
It is good to know however, that Nigeria’s federal road safety laws are not gender biased. There are no rules restricting women from riding motorcycles.