Helmet case in court

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Turban unravels helmet law
flickr.com

All he really needs is a DOT sticker for his turban. Or maybe a safety pin, if Crown counsel is to be believed.

An Ontario Sikh is fighting the province’s helmet law and a $110 ticket he got two years ago for riding a motorcycle while wearing nothing on his head but the turban that his religion requires. He says he can’t take the turban off for riding, and you can’t fit a helmet over a turban, so if he’s going to ride, it’s going to be without DOT approval.

Baljinder Badesha, 39, is the owner of a used car lot in Brampton, Ont. He learned to ride in India, and got his Ontario bike licence in 2005. He had been riding for just a few weeks, unaware that he was supposed to wear a helmet, when he got the ticket. He hasn’t ridden on the road since — but he has raced around Cayuga Speedway in his turban.

According to a story in the Globe and Mail, the Crown argued that the turban might unravel in the wind at highway speeds, and had even demonstrated the fact in a wind tunnel. But under the eye of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Badesha proved that turbans don’t blow apart easily, by riding his motorcycle around Cayuga at 110 km/h without cranial disrobing.

The government then admitted that its engineer had goofed, accidentally blasting its test turban with a 300 km/h wind.

The Human Rights Commission is involved because it feels the helmet law discriminates against Sikhs. Meanwhile, Badesha says he should be able to ride without head protection. "Who cares," he said, according to the Globe. "Everybody ends up dead anyway."

Badesha’s helmet-case trial continues in a Brampton court.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well, I am a an immigrant who came to Canada for a better life and I am very happy to be here. I do not think immigrants have the right to dictate to Canada what their laws should and shouldnt be to fit their cultural ideas and beliefs. I came here because my country could not offer me better life, why would I ask country who offer me better life to change to be like country I left? Makes no sense and my opinion is go back to your country if you dont like Canadian ways or laws. Just my opinion 8)

  2. Many will not understand the Turban issue here.
    It is more than just religion,its tradition as well.It’s bigger than riding the bike and abiding by canadian rules.
    its not the end of the world if doesn’t ride a bike,it wasn’t the end when the Law abiding Engineer accidently ‘flipped’ 300km/h either right?

  3. The court did decide. The court threw out his constitutional challenge. He is now appealing. Given that the judge was very thorough in his “reasons for decision” why it is an “undue hardship” for Ontario to accomodate him, I am certain that more senior courts won’t reverse the original decision of March 6th 2008. His rights aren’t being infringed on, per say. EVERONE who wants to ride a motorcyle in Ontario is required to wear a helmet. It is a “bona fide occupational requirement”. If you cannot abide by this requirement, , then you cannot indulge in the occupation. Period.

  4. ALL COMMENTS POSTED ABOVE ARE VERY GOOD HOWEVER THEY PROVE HOW GOOD HUMAN BEING WE ARE AND WHAT WE THINK ABOUT THE PEOPLE FROM OTHER NATION IT PROVES THAT ALL COMENTERS ARE A H. IF WE ARE THAT CONCERN ABOUT LAWS TELL OUR FUKIN POLITCIAN TO STOP IMMIGRATION WHEY THEY GO AND BEG BEFORE THEM TO COME TO THIS COUNTRY BECAUE WE CANNOT PRODUCE ENOUGH KIDS THESE PEOPLE COME HERE AND HELP US WITH OUR ECONOMY AND PAY TAXES SO WE CAN BUILD ROADS AND PAY WELFARE TO OUR CANADIANS.SO YOU KNOW WHAT RESPECT THEM AND RESPECT THEIR CULTURE DONT BARK LIKE A DOG LET THE COURT DECIEDE. YOU ARE NOT JUDGES SO SHUTUP

  5. :grin
    i guess all born canadians can get away with wearing a helmet if it is riding a bike , working on construction or anything if you wear a turbin.All anyone has to say it is against their religion.
    what a pack of bullshit. i am canadian born and i must abide by canadian laws. in my opion in canada there should be one law for everyone.it should not make any difference where you are from or what religion if you are from that country or anywhere in the world you are created equal so in canada one law applies to everyone.

  6. Once again, we have the system being abused for the rights of one individual or group over all others. The laws are put in place for everyone. If you are stupid enough to ride w/o a helmet and get a ticket, then pay the fine, learn from it, and conform. If you don’t like it, then change the law for everyone. Or don’t ride at all. Or go to whatever country does not have this law. Most of all, quit your whining and and be glad for all the great opportunities that life in Canada offers all of us.

  7. I have been made aware of a case, a few years ago, of an orthodox sikh who wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces. He managed to receive permission, or whatever, from his religion to wear a helmet so he could fly a fighter jet. He doesn’t fly without his helmet! How is this different? Damn. An orthodox sikh is one of the best cricket players in the world. Does he wear a turban? NO. He wears headgear that, if it had HD on it, would look like the head scarfs some of us wear nearly all the time. He can even wear a fedora over his modified “turban” and still be “legal”

  8. 🙁 “Show some respect for his religion”?!?!? Are you kidding me!? Maybe its about time people like him start showing some respect for this country that lets him live here and start abiding by our laws and culture and shutting the heck up. As for the RCMP…letting them wear their turbins instead of the proper uniform hat was the begining of the end as far as I’m concerned. If you prefer the laws and culture in what ever country you came from…then do us all a favour and go back there!

  9. the guy did not say who cares. he stated that because of his religous belief to not remove his turban his human rights are violated. RCMP can wear their turbans instead of a uniform hat. show the guy some respect for his religon….. 8)

  10. I’ve said it a couple of times:

    Operating a motor vehicle is a privilege. Privileges are not rights and therefore cannot be infringed upon. The rules are in force to protect those and others afforded that privilege.

    I bet his insurance premium goes through the roof, regardless of the result.

    Guilty as charged, don’t forget the court costs.

  11. Two things:
    1. In Ontario you can ride with an M1 licence, which only requires you to pass a written test – no helmet need for that.
    2. British Columbia AND Manitoba already have exemptions in place for Sikhs to ride helmetless. In those provinces the law was also contested using the Human Rights argument.

  12. The government must have its collective head up its collective butt to go to court with a case like that. It’s not about the turban coming unravelled, it’s about the law of the land and whether it applies to all citizens, or whether, to paraphrase Orwell, “some pigs are more equal than others.” Either the law applies to everyone or no-one. If everyone, enforece it equally. If no-one, then the nanny-state must assume people have the intelligence (dangerous, I know) to make their own decisions about helmets.

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