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Judge rules against Sikh challenge of helmet law

Remember the case of the Sikh man in Brampton charged for not wearing a motorcycle helmet for religious reasons?

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.

Well, the judge ruled against him. I wonder what this means for Sikh cyclists if mandatory bicycle helmet laws ever come to Ontario?

A judge in Brampton, Ont., rejected a human rights challenge to an Ontario law on Thursday, ruling that motorcyclists must wear helmets while riding because safety concerns outweigh religious rights….

Blacklock said “no accommodation appears possible” under the law because there is no question that helmets reduce the risk of head injuries suffered by motorcyclists in crashes.

He said allowing Badesha, along with other Sikh motorcyclists, to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet would put “undue hardship” on the province to maintain safety standards.

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