Sikhs in Ontario are now allowed to ride in a turban instead of a helmet, joining riders in three other Canadian provinces as Australian Sikhs seek the same exemptions.
The Ontario government has granted the rule waivers to Sikhs in recognition of their civil rights and religious expression after a bill presented by parliamentarian and Sikh Prabmeet Sarkaria.
“The wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh faith and identity, and exemptions for Sikhs have been successfully implemented in other provinces in Canada and across the world,” he said.
Sikhs are also exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets in Indian, the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia, and the UK introduced the exemption in 1976.
However, Denmark is following France by cracking down on helmet exemptions that allow riders to go without a helmet if they obtain a doctor’s note or have a legitimate non-medical reason such as wearing a turban.
The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Australia told us last year that motorcycle and bicycle helmet rules are discriminatory.
They are calling for an exemption for all cyclists and for motorcyclists and scooterists riding at low speeds only.
Founding member Daljeet Singh told us that while initiated male and female Sikhs must cover their hair with a turban, Sikh Motorcycle Club members wear a bandana-style scarf underneath their helmets.
The Central Coast of NSW Sikhs say they have campaigned to Coffs Coast Council for the right to not wear helmets on city streets signposted up to 60km/h.
However, the matter would have to be decided by the NSW Centre for Road Safety (CRS). Neither council nor the CRS can find any record of contact from the group.
There are about 126,000 Sikhs in Australia, according to the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics census. It is the fifth largest religion after Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Victoria has seen the sharpest increase in the number of Sikhs with 52,762. The state with the second highest Sikh population is NSW with 31,737 Sikhs, Queensland 17,433, Western Australia 11,897, South Australia 8808, ACT 2142 and Northern Territory and Tasmania have under 700 Sikhs each.
Unshorn hair (‘Kesh’) are also an essential part of the Sikh Code of Conduct. This makes Turban an essential part of a Sikh’s attire. Like the ‘Kirpan’ issue, this is another issue where the Government and its departments as well as the wider Australian community need to be informed about the importance of the Turban for a Sikh. More importantly, in order to tackle the hate crimes and discrimination based on the ‘looks’ the Australian community is being educated about the distinction between a Sikh and other members of the community who may also wear a Turban or cover their head or perhaps may look the same due to other items of clothing (for example the salwar and kameez for the women).
Hopefully the Government will introduce measures which will allow the wider Australian community to be more aware and tolerant and not discriminate against someone wearing a Turban and not assume that they might be a terrorist.
Taiwanese company Jarvish has launched a crowd-funding campaign and discounts to produce their X and X-AR smart helmets that include a host of technology as well as voice-only access to Siri, Amazon Alexa and OK Google control.
Other features are a carbonfibre shell, front and rear 1080p 360-degree cameras, Bluetooth audio, active noise cancelling to reduce wind noise, a drop-down HUD screen, and integrated satellite navigation.
A range of those features has been promised in other smart helmets, but none promises all of them.
There are other points of difference:
The cameras will not only record video on 16 GB of internal storage plus a 256GB card slot but the rear camera can also be used as a rear view mirror;
Its head-up display screen is voice-activated to retract and deploy so it isn’t in your face the whole time;
Automated sensors turn the helmet on when you put it on and turns off when you remove the helmet;
Gyro, e-compass, accelerometer and ambient light sensors analyse the weather and road conditions to provide real-time alerts;
Access to Siri, Alexa and OK Google is voice activated without having to tap a button; and
The full-featured X-AR is being offered at $US899 (about $A1230) compared with the retail price after the campaign of $US1599 ($A2190). It is scheduled for delivery in September 2019.
A “budget” X version without HUD and the rear camera will cost $US399 ($A545) for early bird backers compared with the retail price of $US699 ($A950). Delivery is planned for April 2019.
Shipping will be free in the UK and US, but $US100 (about $A135) elsewhere.
Jarvish promises to deliver
The Jarvish HUD promises to show “critical information” such as bike speed, local speed limit, time, weather, chance of rain, media, phone calls, fuel stops, compass, navigation, traffic alerts, and even “road slip notifications”.
That’s a lot of information available to overload the rider and possibly make the helmet very heavy.
However, voice activation means the rider can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the bars while control the cameras, make a call, adjust the volume, play music and more.
Even with all that technology and capability, the ECE and DOT-approved carbon helmets weigh only 14.kg for the X and 1.7kg for the X-AR.
Battery life will be six hours for the X. The extra tech in the X-AR will drain the military-grade solid-state flexible type lithium ceramic battery in four hours.
There is also an Android and iOS app that comes with the helmet to widen its capabilities.
So it would be understandable if riders were sceptical about this product materialising as promised next year.
However, at least they are not asking for crowd funding as most others have, including the infamous Skully which squandered its funding on fast cars and fast women and was then supposed to be resurrected by now.
Imagine a motorcycle jacket that vibrates when it senses you are about to have a collision or delivers that disco bass rumble in your gut when you play music in your helmet?
The Origin “haptic” jacket will come as part of a package with a Zenith head-up display helmet (HUD) when you buy the coming 240km/h Arc Vector electric motorcycle costing about £90,000 ($A160,000, $US117,000).
Senior associate Katie Minogue said she was confident her client had a “strong enough case” and was looking forward to their day in court.
However, at the last minute, VicPol have withdrawn the fine.
That means the issue has not been dealt with in court so no legal precedent has been set.
So police are still at liberty to use their erroneous reading of the rules to issue fines and harass riders.
Ted says he felt harassed as soon as he was pulled over in April 2018 on his 2016 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider S about 200m from his Geelong home by one of two police officers patrolling on dirt bikes.
“I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I asked, ‘what’s up?’.
“The cop says ‘you’re riding a motorcycle in Victoria’, so I knew this guy was not up for a chat!”
The officer then told him his helmet was not compliant because it did not have a sticker on the outside.
“I just agreed with him and didn’t enter into much conversation or argue with him,” Ted says.
While Ted politely accepted the ticket without argument, he decided he wanted his day in court.
However, he has now received a phone call to say the matter has been dropped because it was “trivial”.
“The copper that picked me up rang and I didn’t answer as it was a private number, so he left a message saying who it was from the Solo Unit,” Ted says.
“He said something like ‘the matter has been not authorised, it will just disappear, you do not have to do anything, it was just being trivial’.
“He was clearing his throat a couple of times so he must have been struggling to say it.
“That message just threw me.”
Ted contacted his lawyers who have contacted police to ask for the official notice of the withdrawal.
“I feel a bit better now and want to thank you (Motorbike Writer), Guy (Motorcycle Council of NSW helmet law expert Guy Stanford) and the lawyers for everything you’ve done to help me,” Ted says.
“But I wanted my day in court. It would have been good to really stick it up them.”
(Maurice Blackburn Lawyers took on Ted’s case pro bono – no charge.)
While there is still no legal precedent, Guy Stanford advises that there is no need for an external sticker so long as there is an internal sticker or label.
It doesn’t matter if the label has faded with wear.