The government of Canada's Saskatchewan granted Sikh motorcyclists temporary exemption from wearing helmets during special events like charity rides. The administration amended the Vehicle Equipment Regulations providing the authorized Minister the power to temporarily waive the requirement to wear a helmet while operating a motorbike.
The decision comes after British Columbia-based Legendary Sikh Riders requested the authorities to consider a reform that would enable them to ride across Canada and raise money for charitable causes.
According to a news release, the new policy allows members of the Sikh religion to ride without helmets on approval by the Minister on an event-by-event basis. "Exemptions would be event-specific, and this change does not grant a permanent, blanket exemption for all members of the Sikh religion to ride motorcycles without a helmet," a government statement noted.
Since Sikh individuals wear turbans as an integral part of their religious practice, it may pose challenges to wearing helmets. In certain provinces in Canada, such as British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, there are permanent exemptions in place that allow Sikh individuals to be exempted from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles due to religious reasons.
"Helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists," Minister for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) Don Morgan said. "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."