Alberta exempts turbaned Sikhs from wearing helmets | Sikh Vogue

  • Edited by
  • Apr 14, 2017

Members of the Sikh Motorcycle Cub sit on his Harley Davidson in Surrey August 20, 2011. Sikh Motorcycle Club was established in 2002 when a Surrey Radio Broadcaster, Harjinder Singh Thind, invited a small group of motorcycle enthusiasts to make a documentary on Sikh motorcyclists who wore turbans. Today, there are approximately 90 members in the Club. Sikh Motorcycle Club is the only one of its kind in Canada. In the Province of BC, Sikhs are legally allowed to ride motorcycles while wearing a turban according to the Provincial Motorcycle Act. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Legal Counsel, World Sikh Organization of Canada, Balpreet Singh Boparai told TOI on Thursday, “After listening to concerns of Sikh community about the compatibility of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV ) helmets with turbans, the law was written to exempt members of the Sikh religion who wear a turban”.

While welcoming the exemption for turbaned Sikh OHV riders from helmet requirements in Alberta’s amendments to the Traffic Safety Act and Off-Highway Vehicle Regulation, he said Initially, exemptions to the helmet requirement were announced that did not include turbaned Sikhs.

“The WSO along with other representatives of the Sikh community were consulted in Edmonton on February 27 and Calgary on March 1 in 2017 regarding the helmet requirements. We made submissions with respect to the importance of exempting turbaned Sikhs from mandatory helmet requirements,” he said.

He further said that the Bill 36, an Act to enhance OHV safety, makes helmets mandatory for those riding OHVs on public lands such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, dirt bikes, utility terrain vehicles, and side-by-sides.

“The law will go into effect May 15, 2017, which sets fine amounts for those in violation of the helmet requirements,” he said.

WSO Alberta vice-president Tejinder Singh Sidhu said, “We are pleased that the government of Alberta has listened to the voice of the Sikh community and exempted turbaned Sikhs from OHV helmet requirements. We are glad the government took the time to engage in dialogue with the community and to understand our concerns and has arrived at a decision that provides religious accommodation to turbaned Sikhs who cannot wear helmets while riding OHVs.”

Ealier in 2013, Alberta became the first province of Canada bringing a policy to allow Sikhs to wear ceremonial kirpan – one of 5 K’s of Sikh.

by Times of India

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