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Sikh motorcyclists offered helmet exemptions for special events in Sask.: province

The seventh annual Nagar Kirtan celebrations in Regina marked the first time that Sikh motorcyclists have been able to ride in Saskatchewan with turbans instead of helmets.

“It’s hard for them to put their hair in the helmets and when they take it off, the hair opens up. According to our religious beliefs we don't like to leave the hair open or uncovered,” Amrit Budwal, a Sikh motorcyclist taking part in the event, told CTV News.

The Saskatchewan government has acknowledged the issue that mandatory helmets pose for Sikh motorcyclists. Several Regina MLAs participated in the celebrations over the weekend.

“There is a temporary exemption available now for those who do charity fundraisers in the Sikh faith and so that’s a recent change that the government has made,” Gene Makowsky, minister of social services, explained.

Sikh motorcyclists will still have to wear helmets outside special events. Many provinces have gone much further, with helmet exemptions at all times.

“In B.C., in Alberta, in Manitoba, in Ontario they allow to wear turban on bikes, but only in Saskatchewan, the government is not allowing us,” Jagroop Singh, another cyclist at the event, explained.

Saskatchewan Sikh’s would like to further discuss the issue with the government.

“Having a helmet exemption for only people who belong to Sikh faith and actually practice their religion,” Budwal said.

“Only for them.”

Saskatchewan Sikh’s hope that some day there will be better understanding that leads to a good resolution.

Until then, they will ride according to the rules. Top Stories

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