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Sikhs Seeking Motorbike Helmet Exemption

Azaad Sikhs

Tarneit residents were awakened on a Sunday morning by the distinctive roar of Harley Davidson motorcycles as members of the Azad Sikh Social Motorcycle Club (SMC) embarked on their annual Vaisakhi motorcycle ride. This event, held on April 14, saw the Sikh motorbike riders cruise from Tarneit to Keysborough in Melbourne’s south-east.


The ride is a highlight of the Vaisakhi festival, an essential date in the Sikh calendar that celebrates the establishment of the Khalsa Panth of warriors by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Commencing at the Gurdwara Sahib in Tarneit and concluding at the Sikh Gurdwara in Keysborough, the riders reportedly left a lasting impression as they made their way through Melbourne.

The motorcyclists provided a spectacular visual as they navigated the city streets. The ride was part of the club’s ongoing campaign to seek an exemption from the helmet laws that currently prevent them from wearing turbans while riding.

The Azad Sikh SMC, along with other Sikh motorcycle clubs across the country, is advocating for helmet law exemptions that would allow them to wear turbans instead of helmets. According to a club spokesperson, the prohibition of caps in Sikh religion extends to helmets, which has deterred many from purchasing motorcycles.

While Sikh motorcyclists in the UK, New Zealand, and some states in the US and Canada enjoy exemptions from wearing helmets, Australia has yet to introduce such exceptions, although they do exist for cyclists.

The club spokesperson emphasized that the campaign for an exemption is not solely about helmets but also about promoting values of unity, respect, and safety, and ensuring the freedom to express religious beliefs.

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