Sikh undertakes speed trial to challenge helmet rule

February 16th, 2008 - 11:53 pm ICT by admin  


Toronto, Feb 16 (IANS) In his battle to overturn a rule making safety helmets mandatory, a devout Sikh in Canada underwent a trial to prove that the turban didn’t come at high speeds. Brampton-based Baljinder Badesha, who has challenged the helmet rule for motorcyclists, performed 110-km speed trials on a highway last year to counter prosecution argument that turbans came off in high winds.

His high-speed driving images were presented in the court Friday by his lawyers to discount theories put forward by prosecutors that turbans came off at high speeds, exposing riders to serious risks.

To prove their point, prosecutors also presented their own test in which a mannequin head was tied on a stick and then exposed to a high-wind tunnel. It proved that turbans came off in 100-km winds.

However, when confronted by Badesha’s lawyers, prosecutors admitted that their experiment “grossly miscalculated” the force of the wind aimed at bashing the mannequin head.

Scott Hutchison, a lawyer with the Ontario Human Rights Commission that is assisting Badesha, said they carried out their own turban trial at 110-km speed to demolish prosecutors’ argument.

The 39-year-old Sikh said the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allowed him to practise his Sikh religion. He said he knew that driving a motorcycle without a helmet on highways was a dangerous thing. But he was willing take that risk for his faith, he said.

He gave the example of Sikh soldiers never wearing helmets.

Badesha, who owns a motorcycle dealership in Brampton suburb here, was charged for breaking the rule in September 2005 and fined $110. He has not driven a motorcycle even as part of test-driving at his dealership since then.

Sikhs are allowed to wear a turban instead of a helmet while driving in the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba.

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