Activate Your Premium Membership Today >

Should Sikhs wear motorcycle helmets?

Sikh Baljinder Badesha rides without a helmet turban

What is more important: Religious belief or safety? The issue has been around for a while and has recently resurfaced in Canada.


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has ruled against turban-wearing Sikhs being exempt from wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle saying that safety is the utmost priority.

It follows a $100 fine given to Sikh Baljinder Badesha who rode without a helmet.

The Premier claims that in jurisdictions with mandatory helmet laws, death rates in motorcycle accidents have gone down 30% and head injuries down by 75%. Ontario has a mandatory helmet law which the courts have found doesn’t infringe on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The Canadian Sikh Association says the decision is “deeply” disappointing.

In 2013, a Queensland court ruled that a turban-wearing Sikh didn’t need to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but that ruling has not yet been tested for the use of riding motorcycles!

Another similar issue is the right of fuel station operators to require motorcycle riders to remove their helmets before fuelling for “safety reasons”, yet they can’t require Muslim women wearing a hijab to unveil their faces. (Actually, it’s not really a safety issue at all, but an issue of identifying people in case they “do a runner” without paying.)

So, is safety more important than religious freedom? Or should there be legal exemptions based on religious rites?

  1. No, it doesn’t. Your mythology doesn’t come before the equity of a system governing you and others. /Argument.

    1. John is spot on.. you dont like our rules… theres the door. I didnt make you come here. And what kills me is how we have to bend to accomodate them. Why? Most immigrants come to our land for a better life. Well maybe life is better here cause we have laws that citizens must follow, as apposes to kids walking down the streets with rocket launchers. And i bet your bottom dollar that if i was overseas in their home land theyd be the first to tell me im not allowed to do this or that. Man this bothers me. Follow the rules or get out.

      1. Hi “Me”,
        I hear what you are saying and you may be right about what you would be allowed to do in other countries.
        However, isn’t it worth celebrating how our democratic society stands apart from others because our citizens are free to challenge the laws and our legal system is flexible enough to adapt to an ever-changing society?
        Otherwise, we’d still have capital punishment and women and aborigines would not be allowed to vote.
        Motorcyclists are often the outcasts of society, so surely we can sympathise with people who do not “fit in”.

  2. Sorry, but rules are rules. I could have a scalp condition for example and not want to wear a helmet….tough titty.
    All this inequality does is undermine minorities and cause resentment. The turban comes off at times, so it can come off to put a helmet on.

    1. Exactly. This constant whining from religious groups is nothing but playing-the-victim tactics to get their way. The reason our society works much better is because we have laws and rules based on scientific research, not silly religious myths.

    1. Name a country for a sikh to go back to where sikhs can abide by their own laws. Don’t say India because they don’t even see sikhs as a separate religion.

    1. It’s your and my tax money that goes to head surgery and a life-time of medical support because “No! I don’t WANT to wear a helmet, because my religious myth says this and that. Wa-wa-wa!”

  3. I don’t think they could fit a helmet on as their turbans cover a lifetime of never getting a haircut. (I worked with a Indian whose hair could touch the ground standing up) They would have the same problem as a person with a lifetime growth of dreadlocks. Now until Nolan comes out with the new n104 in XXXXXXL or puts in a pony tail hole then they will have no excuses.

  4. I believe its their own choice – Helmetless or Headless? Both linked in the rising numbers of deaths in motorcycle accidents, especially so in places like Florida that has no helmet law. I am amiss at what the real issue here is and am puzzled why any rider in his right mind (pun intended) would NOT choose to wear a protective helmet considering the extreme danger of riding motorcycles.

  5. If person go on work a sikh not able to go without turbn and helmet we can not wear over the turbn it posses psychological more chance of risk please allow the person with proper thick turbn to drive because without turbn no sikh is sikh

  6. During the First and Second World Wars, sikhs fought for the British Empire. They did NOT wear helmets while being shot at by the enemy as their beliefs forbid them from removing it. If a sikh is prepared to go into battle for this country without a helmet why should they not be allowed to ride a motorcycle without one. I’m writing from England where this law was changed as a consequence of the above point by the government who initially objected.
    To those who say rules are rules, get a life.

    1. Will they pay for their own medical treatment that will be required simply because they want to have their own religious-based exemptions (no helmet) afforded to no one else? Oh no, that’s right, they want to have the cake AND eat it, by getting special treatment by the law AND make me pay tax for their injuries. No thanks. There should be zero special treatment based on religious nonsense!

Comments are closed.