Reasonable Accomodation of Bike Helmets

Ontario Court Justice James Blacklock ruled today that laws mandating helmets do not discriminate against turban-wearing Sikhs.

Baljinder Badesha fought a fine to pay $110 for not wearing a helmet, and the Ontarion Human Rights Commissions even intervened on his behalf.

But to no avail. The court ruled that the province would face undue hardships due to safety concerns.

However, other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally have previously made exceptions for turbans.

Michael Doi for the attorney-general demonstrated before the court that Sikhs do not always wear their turbans; they make exceptions for sports, and have alternatives that are used by Canadian Forces.

This case was dissimilar from the previous soccer-ban on hijabs, which are worn frequently in international soccer clubs with no demonstratable risk to the player or others.

The soccer ban, still enforced, has not been legally challenged to date.

But John Moore of The John Moore Show on NewsTalk 1010 Toronto suggests in the National Post that there may be other factors underpinning many of these cases,

It would seem the real resentment stems from the fact that Muslims, Jews and Sikhs have hats they can wear to signify their faith while Christians do not. Surely this is an issue to take up with the church. It’s not like the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches don’t have a hat tradition of their own. It’s just that the great parade of miters and birettas is restricted to the clergy. If some people feel such an urgent need to demonstrate their faith perhaps they can merely don a toque and call it a “Jesus hat.”

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