The government in Canada’s Saskatchewan province has granted Sikh motorcyclists a temporary exemption from wearing helmets during special events like charity rides.
The move comes after the Legendary Sikh Riders, a motorcycle group based out of British Columbia province, had asked Saskatchewan to consider a change to allow them to ride across Canada to raise money for charitable causes.
While there are permanent, blanket helmet exemptions for religious reasons in provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, Saskatchewan, law requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets when operating a motorcycle on public roads.
“Helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists,” Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SGI, said.
The amendments to the Vehicle Equipment Regulations will be temporary and will not grant blanket exemption for all members of the Sikh religion to ride motorcycles without a helmet, according to a media release by the Saskatchewan government.
“While we have no plans to introduce a blanket exemption to motorcycle helmet laws, our government sees this provision for temporary exemptions as a fair compromise that will enable future charity fundraisers to proceed,” Morgan said.
The exemptions will have to be approved by the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and would be limited to members of the Sikh community, who wear turban as an expression of their faith and are unable to wear helmets.
Any exemption granted would not apply to passengers or riders who are still learners or in their home province’s graduated driver licensing programme.