NDP introduce another Sikh helmet exemption bill in Ontario

Photo: sikhmotorcycleclub.org

Photo: sikhmotorcycleclub.org

Once again, an Ontario politician is introducing a bill in the provincial legislature that would allow Sikh motorcyclists to ride without helmets.

This time, it’s MPP Jagmeet Singh (of Bramalee-Gore) who’s introducing the bill — he introduced a similar bill earlier this year, and back in 2013. The idea is simple: Singh, and other members of the provincial government (he’s NDP, but the PCs have backed this in the past) think Sikhs should be allowed to ride motorcycles without helmets, due to religious convictions about their turbans (called a Dastaar).

This sort of exemption has already been OK’d in BC and Manitoba, and other jurisdictions outside Canada’s borders, as seen in the title shot.

Will Singh’s motion pass? A quick spin through the CMG archives reveals Sikhs in Ontario have been lobbying for this since at least 2008, with no success. His press release reads in part: “For over 10 years, the Sikh community has been working towards a legislated exemption for members of the Sikh faith who wear turbans when operating a motorcycle, but the Liberal government has failed to take action …

“There is little justification for this government to continue denying Ontario’s Sikh community the rights they already have in other jurisdictions.  Ontario’s New Democrats were the first party in Ontario to recognize the Sikh articles of faith, and as a proud New Democrat, I will continue to work with my colleagues to legislate the protection of all articles of faith.”

Translation: He might not have his way this time around, like the last few times, but it sounds as if he’s going to keep trying until successful.


  1. Ontario should adopt the State of Michigan helmet law, where you can only ride without a helmet if you pay for extra insurance coverage. This way we aren’t giving special status to any one particular group.

    • This is a complete absurdity Ontario is doing the right thing , these other provinces need to have there head examined . These laws were put into place as a protection , much like seat belts in a car … if any province is going to cave into these ridiculous bills they would be better off to cancel the law all together then accommodate a few trying to force there way on the western laws put into place to protect the public … its pretty simple put a helmet on or don’t ride !!! Alberta , Manitoba , BC have show a true form of racism but allowing a minority group with special favoritism towards there religion .. If not , then ban the law for all and allow those who choose not to wear a helmet for what ever reason to do so.. … im appalled!

      • I agree that to exempt only one group of people from wearing a helmet is ridiculous you mean to tell me that these people never remove there turbine for a clean one or to take a bath then they could certainly take it off to ride there Motorcycle as a motorcycle rider myself and a Canadian born citizen I believe that privilege should be that of all Motorcycle Riders Doug Ford should be ashamed of himself but I’m sure he is not

  2. Is riding with a turban any less dangerous than riding with one of those itsy bitsy teenie weenie tiny little helmets that some bikers ride with?

  3. Sikhism is one of the newest and modern religions in the world. If someone tries to understand us then they will get to know that our demand is valid.

    Sikhs are to keep their hairs uncut and tie turban to keep their hairs clean.
    Now in such a scenario it is not possible to wear helmet.
    They don’t have to remove their turbans because it’s one of the Founding values / identity in their religion.

    Safety: In some countries like India, they are free to wear turban over helmet. There are some rules like length of cloth should be at least 5 meters etc. Helmet is mandatory if someone don’t tie turban.
    Turban safe lives too, it reduces the impact of collision and save from cold/hot weather.

    Solution: Something needs to invent which can provide more protection and can be wear over turban.

  4. Perhaps if this law passes, the Insurance industry should also have a separate category or exemption for such riders who don’t wear helmets…ergo, make their premiums higher (if they “choose to not wear helmet) so the rest of us don’t get affected with rising costs and perhaps provide inducements for helmet wearing bikers to have a lower rate.

  5. The problem is that the biker religion, like scientology, is not as old as the traditional religions. It is ok to think of people as cattle, to say the earth is 8000 years old, to marry your 10 year old cousin as long as you’ve been doing it for 500 years.

  6. My question is, if that law hasn’t passed yet,how did they get thru the Motorcycle Safety Course and the road tests without wearing safety gear. When you sign up for the course the instructors tell you that you need to come in full safety gear,proper boots,Jacket,gloves, safety glasses and a government approved safety helmet.”Double standard I guess!!!

  7. OH GOD! WHO CARES?????????????

    IT DOESN’T MATTER. IT NEVER MATTERED AND IT WILL NEVER MATTER. The Grits in this province are stealing us blind, there’s nasty wars in the Middle East and Africa where people are DYING, and we’re worried about helmets on a few people? F*cking first world problems!

    Go get on your bike and go for a RIDE. Forget this bullsh*t.

    • N.O.P. – on this we are in complete agreement. Let’s all move along shall we ?

      There’s only a dead horse that someone’s been flogging, nothing more….

  8. They didn’t wear helmets in war and don’t wear RCMP hats they wear a turban these people fought in the War on our side all you people should shut the hell up World War 2 was a bad thing and they volunteered and fought with their turbans quit whining get a life

    • So by your logic I don’t have to wear one either. My family has been in military service as far back as I can research. Up until the modern warfare era no helmets were worn by any of them either. So do I throw my helmet in the regular garbage stream or do I need to put it in the blue box?

  9. In the spirit of becoming kinder, gentler and more tolerant – sure, let ’em ride their motorcycles while wearing a turban. They do it in BC and I don’t see mayhem on the streets. As for special priviledge, we already have separate laws for three sections of society – Quebec, the Natives and the rest of us – what’s one more?

  10. this is dumb. sorry helmets required by law. my tax dolers go to health care. Theya re well proven to save lives and reduce injuries. now allowing them to do this costs us cash and for what reason.

    • Boy this is coming long after you posted this but I was in Niagara Falls this weekend and they had a big fluffle about it I think it only save them from themselves I had 2 idiots on their bikes try to squeeze between me and the curb neither one we’re riding small bikes both hit the curb and almost lost it all the other bikers were riding in the traffic like normal people I’ve been riding for 40 years I’ve never seen such stupidity in my life what they need to do is see some of the pictures of what happens two people with no helmets and even pictures of helmets that have been through a crash we have one law for all if you don’t like it too f****** bad maybe they just need to be saved from themselves

  11. Let them ride without a helmet. As far as I’m concerned if you ride in a tshirt or shorts it’s the same thing. Anyone not in full safety gear should not be entitled to medical coverage in the event of an accident in my opinion.

    • I agree Pedro. My wife, from a Sikh background informs me that many Sikhs, that may or may not ride motorcycles, do not wear turbans through choice. It makes them no less a Sikh. It is not a requirement for Sikhs to wear turbans for religious reasons therefore the request to be exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets is mute.

    • Reverse discriminations? Seriously?

      Like, man, do you even breathe the same oxygen as the rest of us?

      Laws can legally and literally be ALL ABOUT exceptions for whatever reasons. As long as there is a credible legal case presented and upheld, it is what it is. If you complain about it AFTER THE FACT, then you just come across as some ignorant whiner who is ignorant of how stuff works in the real world. “Why exceptions” indeed. D’oh!

  12. If I remember the last time this was newsworthy, part of the logic do demonstrate lower risk was flawed. They were asking for an exemption, but it would not apply to 400 series highways, or highways with a speed limit greater than 80 km/h. There is a fairly high percentage of motorcycle/car collisions occur at intersections including many of the fatal ones. They’re not going to be any safer because they’re not on the highway, and accepting the request or granting an exemption that uses that logic in ANY WAY is what would set a bad precedent. I still disagree with the argument based on religious grounds, but it’s defensible – because even though it isn’t logical, it’s already been done. Riding a motorcycle is a choice, just like religion is a choice. When the two conflict, the individual has yet another choice to make. Whether it’s statistically insignificant or not, ANY death that could have been prevented by wearing a helmet is important.

  13. I’m fine with that, for them or anyone else who wants to ride helmetless, as long as they sign an absolutely binding contract that states OHIP will not pay for any treatment of a head injury or any subsequent rehabilitation costs.

  14. What is it with all these people saying that they were able to ride caterpillars on Mars so they have to be able to do it when they immigrate to Canada ?????????? At least with this request we can kill off a few people not wanting to agree with the laws of their host country – and nothing to do with race, religion, color, ……….. You come here you agree to live by our laws and customs – else you may just stay home and die there..

    • I agree 100%.
      What do you think the likelihood is of getting laws changed to accommodate us in their country be the situation reversed? Nil. Of course that question is really moot, all you have to do is pay somebody and you can do what you like.

    • I would sincerely like to see your credible citations of riding caterpillars on Mars. If you can manage that, you’ve pretty much become the greatest internet celeb ever. Otherwise, you’re just a TROLL.

      • “– and nothing to do with race, religion, color, ……….. You come here you agree to live by our laws and customs – else you may just stay home and die there..”

        I guess he doesn’t see the irony in that. His viewpoint must be a rose *colour*.

  15. I’m undecided. .I saw the morons stunting a few weeks back with their t shirt armour ,running shoes and shorts….they ride like morons with minimal gear so how is this different? Insurance could benefit from this from one perspective and if the ride or die crew want to stunt wearing shorts why can’t these guys ride with turbans. I don’t know.. it’s a safety choice…on the other hand them law is the law, built for one built for all. Be in compliance or be subject to penalty….their safety choices (as well as the morons that block traffic and stunt) don’t change my rchoice of gear so if there is an even greater risk than the ones present riding, that’s their risk appetite not mine.

  16. Normally I shy away from name calling on the web, but hell – we got some real first class idiots on here. Racists retards too!

    And spare me the healthcare BS argument, I bet most of our heath care dollars goes towards people who don’t look after themselves – drinking, smoking, getting high, eating junk food, not exercising – somehow I should pay for their heath care but the tiny handful of guys without helmets on bikes – NO! Give me a break.

    As far as i’m concerned, once you reach a certain age and experience on a motorbike, it should be a choice. Like it is in at least half of the states.

    I don’t need Kathleen Wynn to look out for my well being. If anything I hold her responsible for increasing my stress levels!

  17. Sikhs have been exempt from wearing crash helmets in the UK since the 70s .You can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many have been killed. I cant see why so many non Turban wearers are getting bent out of shape over it…if they make the turban compulsory for non sikhs then by all means howl at the moon over the loss of your civil liberty …otherwise shush.

    • So your objection is that you have to wear a helmet rather than they don’t have to wear one…yet all I’ve read is how much of a drain injured Sikhs are doing to be on the Canadian health service Blah blah blah. Sounds more like playground jealousy than an honest concern over the medical costs and implications of having a group of people exempt.

    • The LAW says for our safety we (anyone who wants to drive a motorcycle in Canada ) has to wear an approved helmet. PERIOD. ..don’t want to wear it. ..don’t drive. ..police are fining people for not wearing an approved helmet. ..how can we allow no helmets to only some…what is good for the goose is good for the gander. ..

    • The turban isn’t compulsory for anyone, anywhere. It’s a choice. They won’t die if they don’t wear a turban, nor be prosecuted nor persecuted for it. They choose to wear a turban – some choices have consequences for other activities one might like to partake in.

      I support this move only if it means everyone can choose to ride without a helmet. I am implacably opposed to any special rights for specific groups.

      • So by your logic I don’t have to wear one either. My family has been in military service as far back as I can research. Up until the modern warfare era no helmets were worn by any of them either. So do I throw my helmet in the regular garbage stream or do I need to put it in the blue box?

    • But wearing the turban is not compulsory for Sikhs either. Sikhs are seeking to have an exemption from the law through personal choice, but certainly not for religious requirements. This is a luxury that the majority of law abiding Canadians do not have.

  18. If the want to be exempt from the helmet law they should have higher insurance premiums and private medical insurance to cover the cost incase of a accident my self I would never ride with out a helmet and I have been riding since there was no helmet law….

  19. This is a safety issue. If they want to change the law, then it should be more expensive for insurance for those who choose to not wear a helmet. It’s a more dangerous activity without the proper protective gear, ergo more likely to cost OHIP (the taxpayers), more money for medical expenses in the event of an accident.

    • If you think the state should mandate every activity you do just in case you have an incident that requires hospitalisation then you need to have a long look at what you do and why.

  20. So we’ve got this MPP prattling about allowing a segment of the population to ignore the helmet law and another twit MPP whinging about scalper bots and ticket prices.

    I’m thinking about Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

    • Really?! Has to come to this type of rhetoric!? Maybe you’re not really concerned about how wrong what they want is, but this is just a platform to spew your beliefs about certain groups, maybe I’m wrong… Let’s have a civil conversation about this as opposed to “they should go back to their country, blah blah blah…” I’m all about safety gear and everything, and i also oppose this ndp bill, but only way people will listen, is if you take a civil approach to it. I’m pretty sure you’ve broken so many laws or questioned the validity of some and no one has told you to go back where you’ve come from, wherever that is…

    • Sory im born in Canada so im à Canadian hi got A bike and hi wear all my safety Gear and hi dont prétend to change the law so why some people gone comme to my Country and gone try to change every thing

    • Well that’s what democracy is about. Be it the change be good or bad. Hopefully the law does not pass, as it will set a dangerous precedent. Plus, I see it as a possible pandering for votes!

  21. Most stupid thing i hav heard recently. Couple of yrs back in Vancouver i had seen one sikh guy riding without wearing a helmet and i asked my cab driver about it, he laughed and said they dont hav to wear helmet by law. So stupid to ask for a law to die !

  22. These people are idiots. I’d never get on my bike without a helmet.
    If they receive a head injury due to this then the system shouldn’t have to pay for treatment. Let their god take care of them.

    • Not a fuckwit champ. Retired veteran in fact buds. You’re missing the point. Head injuries are no joke and affect all those around them. I know this from first hand experience.
      Riding a motorcycle or driving a car is not a right. It’s a priveledge. These safety measures are in effect for common safety.
      Who’s the fuckwit now kid?

    • He didn’t say they were exempt for service they did their service with no helmets they wore their turbans so they should be able to wear them on their bike and anyway who cares you want to wear a helmet wear one anybody who doesn’t want to wear one shouldn’t have to should be a personal choice same as a seat belt. The government lets people smoke makes a lot of money off of it that makes more money when people get sick and have to pay bills how about be pissed off about that instead everybody has their nose in everybody else’s business ridiculous.

  23. I’ve said it before: If it’s an issue of simple clothing and has no impact on anything else, by all means let it pass. If it’s an issue involving mandated safety gear, then no.

    Full disclosure: Jagmeet Singh (you spelt it wrong) is my MPP.

    • The accident was completely out of my control actually. My husband was riding behind me on his bike and unfortunately watched the whole accident happen right before his eyes. I’m lucky to be alive. But I’ll just ignore the cunt comment lol I’m too busy being happy to be alive for my three children.

      • Good for you–glad you came out of it well enough to ignore the moronic comments of one I K above.

        I don’t know what occurred, but if you were ahead of your hubby and he saw the whole thing happen that was completely out of your control, I’d hazard a guess that some cager came at you without you having any time to take evasive action. .

        Hope you’re still riding.

  24. Geez!!! This again?!?!?Having a motorcycle license is not a “right” it’s a “privilege”. There is no religious exception nor should there be. Figures the NDP would be backing this.

    • But the helmet law is in place to minimize the head injury in the event of an accident.
      Same as the workplace safety legislation… Hurt on the job not wearing the proper protection or procedures someone’s at fault. Employers not supplying proper equipment face huge sanctions…
      You have to sign a waiver acknowledging risks to play sports, why should someone be exempt from the waiver…
      Just eliminate the helmet law and make a rider on the health coverage and insurance that you’re not covered if you don’t use the proper equipment and techniques in all aspects of life; work, sport, motorcycles, seat belts your pick!

    • I suspect you’re right. Just another group using their choice to obey the silly requirements of some religion to justify why they should have special rights, without even trying to accommodate their beliefs to our laws.

      No special rights for specific groups.

      ps I have nothing against Sikhs or the Sikh religion. The I know and have known are good people. The religion is no more less silly than most. I am equally opposed to special privileges based on claiming religious requirements for Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc, etc.

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