Helmet Exemption for Sikh Riders Proposed Once More in Ontario

A group of Sikh riders 1 photo
It's not the first, and it's not going to be the last time when religion mixes with things in everyday life it should not. So here's Canadian politician MPP Jagmeet Singh (NDP rep from Bramalea Gore) backing a new bill proposal that seeks to amend the Highway Traffic Act in favor of Sikh riders.
Mr. Singh's lawmaking efforts are aimed at changing the law in such a way as to make it legal for riders of Sikh religion to operate their motorcycles on public roads without wearing a crash helmet. Instead, they should be able to retain their distinctive turban called a Dastaar. Mr. Singh also invokes a similar exempt that is enforced in other two Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Manitoba.

As we reported, this is not a first from the representatives of the Sikh community. Mr. Singh made a similar proposal back in 2013, but the bill did not make it. Ontario's Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne opposed the modifications suggested by the Canadian Sikh Association in 2014, but it looks like the game is back on.

Two years ago, Mrs. Wynne declared that “After careful deliberation, we have determined that we will not grant this type of exemption as it would pose a road safety risk. Ultimately, the safety of Ontarians is my utmost priority, and I cannot justify setting that concern aside on this issue.”

CMG reports that both the NDP and PC (New Democratic Party and Progressive Canadian Party, respectively) are now supporting the new legislative proposal, whereas the Liberals, of which Mrs. Wynne is a member, are not that fond of such a law. Still, the liberals outnumber the NDP and PC, but this matter is hardly a political one.

We are aware of people who, for electoral purposes, would gladly ignore the dangers of riding without a helmet, but the entire thing is in no way a political battle. Statistics from all over the world indicate that injuries, deaths and the incumbent costs related to them are significantly higher for unhelmeted riders. The figures speak for themselves, but of course, there are people who would simply deny this and would find pretty much anything for an excuse.

It will be interesting to see where this leads, but we just have to end this piece with the words of reader Adam Hadley: “Wearing their headdress is a right. Riding is a privilege. Many people make sacrifices in order to follow a religion. In this case not being able to ride a motorcycle would be one of those sacrifices.” These words sum up the entire content of the “Religion-Based Exemptions” article we published back in August 2014. Do read and speak out.
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