Saskatchewan Sikh motorcyclists can now ride without helmets for special events

Sikh motorcycle riders will require permission from the minister responsible for SGI before being allowed to ride without helmets at special events. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

Members of the Sikh community in Saskatchewan won’t be required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle in special events after new rules were put in place Friday.

The change is intended to allow Sikh motorcyclists to participate in events like charity rides, while still wearing a turban.

All exemptions must be approved by the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and would be limited to members of the Sikh religion.

The province said exemptions to wearing a helmet would be event-specific. The change does not grant a permanent, blanket exemption for all members of the Sikh religion to ride motorcycles without a helmet.

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“Sikhs wear a turban as an expression of their faith and are unable to wear helmets,” the province said in a press release.

“In British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, there are permanent, blanket helmet exemptions for religious reasons.  Saskatchewan law requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets when operating a motorcycle on public roads.”

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The province said in recent years, the Legendary Sikh Riders from British Columbia had asked Saskatchewan to consider a change to allow them to ride across Canada to raise money for charitable causes.

“Helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists,” said Don Morgan, the minister responsible for SGI. “While we have no plans to introduce a blanket exemption to motorcycle helmet laws, our government sees this provision for temporary exemptions as a fair compromise that will enable future charity fundraisers to proceed.”

Any exemption would not apply to passengers or riders who are still learners or in their home province’s graduated driver licensing program.

Click to play video: 'Thousands gather for Sikh celebration in Saskatoon'
Thousands gather for Sikh celebration in Saskatoon

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