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Summary of Question:Helmet Situation In The Us?
Date Posted:Sunday, 12/26/2004 8:29 AM MST


I will be coming to the US (Las Vegas) early next year for a holiday. Whilst doing research into my holiday I found that there was a number of activites (e.g. rock climbing, quad bike riding etc) which are available but require the person to wear a helmet. I have been born and breed in the UK and and feel very proud to tie a turban because I understand it's significance. As I am sure you know in the UK Sikhs are exempt from wearing helmets whilst riding motorcycles and organisers of events which require the wearing of a helmet usually exempt Sikhs from wearing one. I wanted to know if there is a similar situation in the US? For example if I wanted to go rock climbing, would I have to wear a helmet or would the organisers be willing to allow me to participate with my turban on?

Personally I would never remove my turban and replace it with a helmet. I once read in a history book that during WW2 the British asked a Sikh regiment to wear helmets instead of turbans because too many of them were dying due to head injuries and the British could not afford to pay pensions to their families. The whole regiment signed a letter saying that if any of them should die due to head injuries then the British government did not have to give their families a penny, but they would not remove their turbans! With such a solid background I think it is wrong for turban tying Sikhs to replace their crowns with a helmets.

Thank you for your help.

Sat Siri Akaal. Laws on helmet use vary by state and locale in the USA. If you are going on an organized outing through a tour or outdoor adventure company, you should contact them directly and explain your situation. You will probably be asked to sign a waiver, which essentially means that you or your family are in no position to sue the company because you waived the requirement for a helment. For motorcycling, you would need to check the city, county and state laws for the place(s) you'll be. Most such places now have their own website and you can contact them and find out the rules. Or contact the city police or county sheriff's office.
If you are planning on rock climbing on your own with a couple of friends without an organized company or association handling details, then you probably won't have to do anything. There is little way to enforce use of helmets in such sports when one does them on one's own. Another thing to do would be to check with outdoor sports equipment shops/camping-hiking shops in Las Vegas and ask them what the requirements are as they know them.
Guru ang sang,

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