Alberta is about to become the third Canadian province to allow Sikh motorcyclists to ride without a helmet.
The change to the province’s Traffic Safety Act will allow Sikh riders to wear their turban instead of a helmet, and comes into effect in April 12. Under the new rules, a motorcyclist must self-identify as a Sikh to ride like this, but if a traffic enforcement officer does not believe this is the case, the officer may still issue a ticket, requiring the rider to prove their case in court.
Manitoba and BC have already granted helmet exemptions to Sikhs, and Sikh riders have been asking for an exemption in Ontario for years. Despite backing from many politicians, that exemption hasn’t been granted yet.
Wearing a turban, or dastaar, is one of the most recognized parts of Sikh culture around the world, leaving many Sikh riders with the choice between wearing their turban or following traffic laws.