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Sikh organization applauds helmet exemption decision from Alberta government

Click to play video: 'Canadian Sikh organization applauds new Alberta helmet law'
Canadian Sikh organization applauds new Alberta helmet law
WATCH ABOVE: Sukhman Kaur Hehar and Avneet Singh Golan with the World Sikh Organization, join Global News Morning Calgary to discuss the impacts of Alberta's new law that exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from wearing motorcycle helmets – Mar 31, 2018

An Alberta government decision to grant a helmet exemption for Sikhs who wear a turban while riding a motorcycle is generating excitement among members of the religion’s Calgary community, according to representatives from a Sikh human rights organization.

“It’s a milestone for us,” Avneet Singh Golan, a member of the World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada, said in an interview on Global News Morning Calgary on Saturday.

“The Sikh turban is a very key thing, it’s not just a hat that you put on every morning.”

READ MORE: Alberta 3rd province to allow Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets

The amendment to the Traffic Safety Act will go into effect on April 12. Alberta will join Manitoba and British Columbia, which also allow Sikhs who wear turbans to ride motorcycles without helmets.

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“A turban to us is an article of faith, it’s something we keep on ourselves all the time,” Sukhman Kaur Hehar, another member of the WSO, said Saturday.

“Getting a helmet exemption is very important because it’s important for people to be able to practice their faith.”

Hehar acknowledge that many people have safety concerns surrounding this move, but claimed the extra risk associated with a helmet exemption has been minimal in other jurisdictions.

“Riding a motorcycle in itself is a very dangerous sport and when people choose to partake in that sport, you’re already undertaking that risk,” Hehar said.

“The issue is whether that marginal increase of that risk … over-weights the fundamental human rights and freedom that people have in causing undue hardship towards people that want to ride.”

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