Doug Ford plans to exempt Sikhs from being legally required to wear motorcycle helmets

But what’s Ford and all the other religious-pandering politicians going to do when the body count from motorcycle collisions rise?

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Hey, all you motorcyclists in Canada, did you hear? There’s a move afoot that could save you a lot of money.  Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba already have the laws and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a few days ago, he’s planning to get one passed too that will exempt any Sikh from wearing a motorcycle helmet.

So here’s the thing. I found a turban you can buy here for $9. A motorcycle helmet will cost you between $48 and $1,500. So convert to Sikh and you could save a pile of dough.

That’s just how ridiculous these special exemptions for special interest and religious groups have become.

What’s really disturbing is that while provinces pander to the Sikhs, motorcycle deaths are rising right across the country.

It was just about a year ago, the Ontario Provincial Police sounded an alarm bell.

“We have had 30 motorcycle riders die in collisions already in 2017,” said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt in August of that year. “That is very alarming considering last year, all year, we only had 36, which is 36 too many.”

The headline on a Toronto Sun story Nov. 20, 2017 went like this: “Motorcycles are more dangerous than ever: Ontario study”.

“A new study,  published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal,  says motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters and motorized bicycles are the cause of 10% of motor vehicle deaths in the province even though they only make up 2% of what’s on the road,” Toronto Sun reporter Jane Stevenson wrote at the time.

The Toronto Sun story went on to report this: “The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre — Canada’s largest trauma centre — and the University of Toronto also found motorcycle crashes cost the Ontario health care system six times the amount of car crashes, 10 times the severe injuries, and five times the deaths.

“‘The cause for alarm is that when you do get into an accident, the results of a motorcycle collision are much more devastating,’” said Dr. Daniel Pincus, one of the study’s co-authors.

“‘Some specific injuries, which we see clinically, are really bad extremity injuries, mangled extremities, bad chest injuries.”

So why would any politician consider lowering the safety standards for motorcycle drivers and riders?

To use a Prime Minister Justin Trudeau-style reason: Because it’s 2018 and religious freedom comes before safety.

The Toronto Sun story laid out these additional statistics from the Canadian Medical Association’s study:

— Motorcycle crashes cause injuries which are 10 times as severe as those resulting from accidents involving cars.

— The medical costs flowing from motorcycle accidents are six times higher than those associated with car crashes.

So why would any provincial jurisdiction even consider relaxing restrictions on safety in the name of religious freedom? Because it’s 2018?

In a August round-table interview with the Sikh community in Brampton, in a conversation that roved around cap and trade and the education curriculum, Premier Ford was asked about exempting male Sikhs, who wear turbans for religious purposes, from wearing helmets.

“Make it easy, before Christmas,” he replied. “It’s going to be one of my agendas, I’ll move forward with it, I’m keeping my promise.

“Promises made, promises kept.”

But what’s Ford and all the other religious-pandering politicians going to do when the body count from motorcycle collisions rise? Do they even know?

Chris Selley, a columnist with the National Post, wrote about the subject just last April. The headline on that story claimed: “Granting Sikh bikers ‘right’ to ride without helmets only adds to religious freedom confusion”

But then, we live in a confusing world don’t we. We now have a gender X on birth certificates. And soon, if you belong to a special religion, you will be able to drive around the Ontario and some other provinces on a motorcycle without a helmet.

And who pays the bills, when one of the Sikh motorcyclists winds up with a head injury in an Ontario hospital? Never mind, we all know the answer to that question. But hey, we have diversity and now we have religious freedom. Everything else doesn’t really matter anymore.


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  1. Wait until they see how the deaths rise when they make marijuana legal.
    I don’t really see the point in helmet laws. If people want to die, that is their choice.

  2. If ya want to motor around without a helmet, that is OK. You have freedom to do what you want.; unless you are a Liberal and everything is banned, racist, subject to group think or such; but I digress.

    However, everything has a price. That price should be being excluded from government supplied health care.

    Why should the rest of the taxpayers pay for elevated heath care costs from the fallout of archaic religious based superstitious beliefs? Can’t have it both ways, unless you pander to special interest groups for votes.

    I think this is another form of discrimination against the rest of us.

Jeff Wilkinson

Jeff Wilkinson is a retired writer, who worked 35 years in print and broadcast journalism before retiring. He also served in the press operations crews at the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

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