“We were actually fined riding out of a temple celebration with turbans on instead of our helmets,” he told us.
“But that’s not the reason why we started wearing helmets. It’s how we feel. We respect wearing the turban, but because the law doesn’t allow it we wear a little scarf underneath the helmet.”
American helmet laws
There is no exemption for Sikhs in the USA, but there are only 19 states that require all riders to wear helmets, anyway.
US helmet laws were introduced in 1966 when the feds withheld 10% of states highway construction funds unless they introduced certain safety regulations, including helmet laws.
Within a decade, 47 states had complied.
But in 1975, Congress amended the Highway Safety Act to prevent the use of federal highway funding as leverage against states.
Despite evidence of helmets protecting riders form death and severe head injury, 28 states have repealed their helmet laws with more set to follow. Nebraska recently started debating repeal legislation.
However, most states without mandatory helmet laws do require riders without helmets to have a certain amount of health insurance and have appropriate eyewear, while riders under 21 are not exempt from wearing helmets.