Ontario to Exempt Turbaned Sikh Motorcycle Riders from Wearing Helmets

With this exemption Ontario becomes the fourth province in Canada to exempt turbaned Sikhs from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles.


Turbaned Sikhs in Ontario will soon be able to ride their motorcycles without wearing helmets. With this exemption, Ontario becomes the fourth province in Canada to do so.

According to The Canadian Press, the exemption comes into effect Oct. 18.

Premier Doug Ford and Prabhmeet Sarkaria, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services said that the Ontario Government will give turbaned Sikhs an exemption from wearing a helmet while riding motorcycles.

A news release issued by the Ontario Premier’s Office said that this exemption is a recognition of their civil rights and religious expression.

“We promised to establish a helmet exemption for Sikh motorcyclists. Today we are taking action to fulfill that promise. We listened to the Sikh community and we intend to exempt them from the requirement to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle,” said Premier Doug Ford in his statement.

“They announced the presentation of the bill in the house by Honorable MPP Prabhmeet Singh Sarkaria for helmet exemption for Sikh riders. Soon we will have a right to ride with our pride,” the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario said in their Facebook post.

Last week, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Sarkaria had tabled “Bill 41, the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Helmet Exemption for Sikh Motorcyclists), 2018 which would grant the same exemption in recognition of Sikh motorcycle riders’ civil rights and religious expression,” the release said.

“I have been calling for a helmet exemption for turbaned Ontario Sikh motorcyclists for several years now. The wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh faith and identity, and exemptions for Sikhs have been successfully implemented in other provinces in Canada and across the world,” Sarkaria said.

British Columbia, Manitoba and Alberta are the three other Canadian provinces that allow turbaned Sikhs to ride their bikes without helmets. In the UK, Sikhs have been exempted to ride without helmets since 1976.

Premier Doug Ford said despite exempting Sikhs from wearing helmets, the safety of the roads will always remain a priority for the government. “But our government also believes that individuals have personal accountability and responsibility with respect to their own well-being,” he said.

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