A Saudi professor was recently shocked to learn all his government benefits had been stopped for three months because traffic police issued tickets against him for "recklessly riding his bike", Twasul news site reported.
Now identified as Hossam Al Melhem, the educator, who has been an avid biker for years, was preparing travel documents when he came across the tickets.
The man had previously shared several videos of himself riding a three-wheeled bike - known as "jariya" in Saudi Arabia - on social media. He also posted several clips encouraging people to view them as a serious alternative to using cars or buses for transportation.
Tickets issued against him included ones for violations like, "reckless driving", "drifting while riding a bike", "filming while driving", "using a mobile phone while driving", "riding a bike on a public highway" and "not wearing a helmet".
News of Al Melhem's "traffic violations" went viral on Twitter after he posted about it...
"Beware, don't drift or speed, challenge cars or pass by them on your bicycle, they'll stop your services and you'll end up getting diabetes and high blood pressure, God forbid."
And sparked intense backlash...
"Punishing Dr. Hossam Al Melhim for riding his bike and 'drifting' is extreme. Instead of rewarding him for spreading the culture of cycling you stopped his benefits!"
Many just couldn't even...
"He's supposed to be honored, not punished. If he's allowed to promote this bike riding culture, it'll help our society both when it comes to mental and physical health."
"How exactly can he drift or speed while riding a bike?"
Even though many were against the issuance of fines against Al Melhem, others thought he deserved it...
"The traffic authority has the right to punish him because he wasn't abiding by any safety rules."
"Our roads aren't suitable for this form of transportation"
The tickets issued against Al Melhem have since been retracted...
Amid all the social media backlash, authorities announced that tickets and fines issued against the cyclist have now been retracted.
In a tweet he posted over the weekend, Al Melhem said officials at Dammam's traffic authority laughed when they heard why tickets were issued against him.
They also told him not to worry about them as they'll be retracted.