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Archive for March 6th, 2008

Safety Trumps Freedom of Religion! At Least on a Motorcycle.

Posted by gottabkd on Thursday, March 6, 2008

A couple of years ago a Brampton man was charged with not wearing a motorcycle helmet. He was issued a $110 ticket and his motorcycle was impounded. I bet the police thought they would never hear from him again.
But the man decided to fight the ticket in court. He felt the law was “infringing on his freedom of religion“.
The man is, after all, is a Sikh who wears a turban, a turban which the Sikh religion forbids him to remove.

Gear

Caption reads: Gear
Because walking away in disgust,
Beats riding away in an ambulance.

The (Ontario) law, the helmet wearing law, was set for the safety of the rider, all riders of the two wheel version, the snowmobile version and the four wheel off-road version of vehicles.
Yet this man decided to challenge this law in the courts of Ontario. I suppose he felt he had a good case, after all Canada has been known to change their laws (or rules) to be “all inclusive of peoples religious freedoms“. So much so that Canada’s RCMP uniform was changed to accommodate turban wearing, a move that also encouraged more people of the Sikh religion to join the RCMP. They also needed more minorities to join the forces… however.. this is different…
There is no safety being compromised if a RCMP officer wears a turban instead of the official police cap, a cap that is just part of the uniform. There is a safety issue, if you do not wear a helmet while driving a motorcycle, especially if you get into an accident. It’s the law for a reason, at least in Ontario, and a law with stats that show, helmet wearing does save lives.

Two other provinces, British Columbia and Manitoba, have already made concessions for turban wearing riders that allows Sikh’s to NOT wear a helmet. Really?

So this man who emigrated from another country, thought he could get away without wearing a helmet, probably because that is what they do back home, who thinks the law is wrong, thought he would challenge the law in court hoping to win. He even got the The Ontario Human Rights Commission involved and they argued that this law violated his constitutional rights. Um, what about our constitutional rights to have laws that make safety a priority?
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