For Sikh Motorcyclists, Prabhmeet and Doug Ford become the real heroes!!
Premier Doug Ford and Prabhmeet Sarkaria, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, announced today that Ontario’s Government is taking steps to grant an exemption from the helmet while riding a motorcycle for the Sikh community.
Highway Traffic Act regulations are being changed to fulfill Ford’s election promise of a helmet reprieve on religious grounds. The previous Liberal government refused to do for safety reasons despite years of lobbying from the Canadian Sikh Association. They pointed out that relevant academic research and legal decisions don’t support granting it to Sikh motorcycle riders because it would pose a road safety risk.
The Progressive Conservative government said on Wednesday that the exemption will go into effect from Oct. 18. This will recognize Sikh motorcycle riders’ civil rights and religious expression. Sikh Motorcyclists are seeming joyed over the passing of this helmet exemption.
There are other countries as well as Canadian provinces with a helmet exemption already in place including:
- British Columbia (1999), Manitoba (2000) and Alberta (2018).
- The United Kingdom, a leader in road safety, implemented the motorcycle helmet exemption for Sikhs in 1976 and continues to be at the forefront of road safety worldwide.
Helmet exemption: Highway Traffic Act
Last week, Tory legislator Sarkaria tabled a bill to amend the Highway Traffic Act to allow the helmet exemption. The government said on Wednesday that it would be bringing about the change through a regulation.
Raynald Marchand, an expert in motorcycle safety, said the exemption should be granted to turban-wearing Sikhs only after they receive their full motorcycle licenses, not during training. He encouraged Sikh motorcyclists to use eye-protecting goggles at a minimum.
“It’s a time for no racism, no discrimination, and for equality for the Sikh community for all over Canada.”