SBS Radio App

Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience

Advertisement
Members of Sikh Motorcycle Club Australia (Supplied)

New South Wales' turban-wearing Sikhs, from the mid-north coast are lobbying to get an exemption from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles. 

By
Preetinder Grewal
Published on
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 13:48
File size
2.89 MB
Duration
6 min 19 sec

The law in New South Wales requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, which makes it difficult for Sikhs who wear turbans to ride a bike in accordance with the law.

Woolgoolga is home to a large Sikh community that adds to the diversity of Australia.

A group of more than fifteen Sikh farmers who are based in the area are now lobbying to get an exemption from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles.

Ajit Nurpuri is one of a group of Sikh men in Woolgoolga campaigning to have motorbike helmet laws changed.

Nurpuri told SBS Punjabi that being members of the Sikh community they find it difficult to wear helmets over the turban.

“We are law abiding citizens. We fully understand the safety concern. But our demand is to have an exemption at least in the close vicinity to our farms,” says Mr Nurpuri.

"We are talking about utility here."

“We are in farming business from last three-four generations. All we need is permission for in and around our farmlands or in the local area.

“We never use motorcycles for long rides or as a luxury.

"We are talking about utility here."

Related Article
Sikh Motorcycle Club Australia lobbying for helmet exemptions

Here we have a conversation with Parampreet Singh Rajput from the Sikh Motorcycle Club Australia who wants the law changed so men from the Sikh religion can ride motorbikes wearing their turbans rather than helmets. Preetinder Singh Grewal reports.....

Ajit Nurpuri migrated to Australia in 1970s from Punjab, India. He is part of the thriving Sikh community who has been responsible for most of the banana and blueberry production in the area.

Mr Nurpuri told SBS Punjabi that he had an exemption for driving motorcycle without helmet in 1975.

“I had an exemption from helmet," he says. "I used to carry exemption certificate along with my driving license."

“But this paperwork was in a rotten state. When I approached RTA to renew it, not only they kept it but also declined to issue again amid safety concerns.

“RTA mentioned that they don’t issue exemptions anymore.    

“We have not met any of the officials at this stage. We’ll discuss within the community first before raising our voice at that level."

The Sikh Motorcycle Club Australia is also lobbying to get exemptions in Australia. 

According to the representatives of this newly formed club, the legal requirement to wear a helmet discourages members of the Sikh faith to ride bikes in Australia.

More recently, the representatives from the Sikh community conveyed their demand for an exemption while riding bicycles to the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.

In 2013, Sydney-based Australian Sikh Association launched a campaign to get helmet exemption for Sikhs to be able to ride bicycles.

At that time, the Sikh community representatives presented a petition of over 400 signatures to Blacktown Council asking for an exemption to the law.

Related Article
Sikh community demands bicycle helmet exemption
NSW’s turban wearing Sikhs are hoping to get an exemption from wearing helmets while riding bicycles.

Most of the Motorcycle associations and traffic authorities do not support this call as it could be fatal and life threatening.

In several parts of the world including some states in Canada, Sikh riders are exempted from legal requirements to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or a bicycle, which cannot be done without removing the turban or Dastaar.

For more news and updates, follow SBS Punjabi on Facebook and Twitter.

ALSO READ
Australia’s First Sikh Temple gets a new building
Standing tall on Woolgoolga’s Heritage Walk, Australia’s First Sikh Temple is the honour and pride of Woolgoolga’s Sikh community.
Woolgoolga’s Punjabi banana growers turn to green ‘hot’ success
Punjabi banana farmers from Woolgoolga - Coffs Harbour are fast transitioning into becoming successful greenhouse vegetable producers. The declining banana industry forced local farmers to look at other options including blueberry and ‘hot house’ vegetable production.
Punjabi farmers are long standing Australian champions in Tug of War
The Tug of War team of Woolgoolga’s hardworking Punjabi farmers has won many national championships in Australia.
Punjabi pioneers revolutionize blueberry farming in Australia
More than 100 blueberry growing Sikh farmers from the mid-north coast of NSW have joined hands to form the Oz Group Co-operative. In the past few years, covering an area of 700 hectares of blueberry bushes, this Co-op has become one of the biggest blueberry suppliers in Australia.
Sikh community demands bicycle helmet exemption
NSW’s turban wearing Sikhs are hoping to get an exemption from wearing helmets while riding bicycles.
Sikh Motorcycle Club Australia lobbying for helmet exemptions

Here we have a conversation with Parampreet Singh Rajput from the Sikh Motorcycle Club Australia who wants the law changed so men from the Sikh religion can ride motorbikes wearing their turbans rather than helmets. Preetinder Singh Grewal reports.....