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Not Wearing a Bike Helmet for a Religious Reason?

Interesting story last week about a Sikh man named Baljinder Badesha who can’t ride his motorcycle because according to his faith, he can’t wear a helmet (either instead of a turban or on top of a turban).

Baljinder Badesha, above, who was charged by Peel police in September 2005 with failing to wear a helmet, said he understands the inherent dangers of riding a motorcycle without a helmet but is willing to take the risk to follow his Sikh tenets.

“I know it is for safety, but people die in car accidents all the time,” the 39-year-old owner of a used car dealership said yesterday outside a Brampton court. He is fighting a $110 ticket he received for wearing his turban instead of a helmet while riding his motorcycle on Queen St. in Brampton near Hwy. 410.

“Telling Mr. Badesha to choose between his religion or participating in the normal life of Ontario is discrimination,” Scott Hutchison, an attorney for the human rights commission, told a Brampton court yesterday.

This brings up interesting questions if a mandatory bicycle helmet law ever comes into effect in Ontario.

If this is a human rights issue and Sikh cyclists don’t have to wear helmets when biking, isn’t mandating non-Sikh cyclists to wear helmets also discrimatory?

More at the Star.



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