A Sikh cyclist in Australia has successfully appealed against a AUS $100 fine for riding without a helmet.
Jasdeep Atwal, 23, said that his faith demanded he always wear a turban in public - and that conflicted with the Australian legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets.
According to Sikh24.com, Atwal was absolved of the charges by a Queensland court, which also criticised the local traffic authorities for the decision.
“How on earth is a bike (rider) going to get a helmet over his turban?” magistrate Stuart Shearer of the local court was quoted as saying.
Atwal told the court he had only ever taken off his turban to sleep or wash his hair.
“The law indirectly discriminates against Sikhs from riding bicycles because essentially we cannot wear a helmet,” Jasdeep Atwal told he Australian media.
“It’s absolved me of all the charges, I’ve got no fines to pay and no demerit points on my license.
“This is a bit of a landmark which we will be able to use in our lobbying in the future.
Currently, Australian cyclists can only be exempt from the helmet requirement if they have medical certification.
In the UK, Sikh motorcycle riders are not required to wear a helmet, in accordance with the Motor-Cycle Crash Helmets (Religious Exemption) Act 1976 passed by the British Parliament in 1976. Section 2A "exempts any follower of the Sikh religion while he is wearing a turban" from having to wear a crash helmet.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.