‘Religious beliefs’ factor in death of Sikh motorcyclist


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A motorcyclist in Dewsbury, who was killed after colliding with a van, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the fatal incident, an inquest heard last week.

23-year-old, Kulraj Singh Kalsi, suffered a severe head injury after crashing his 125cc motorbike into the passenger side of a Volkswagen Caddyvan, on Thornhill Road, Dewsbury, in April last year.

Mr Kalsi was not wearing a helmet at the time as, because he was a Sikh, it would interfere with his religious beliefs as he would be forced to remove his turban.

By law, it is illegal for motorcyclists to travel without a helmet on yet Sikhs are exempt from such ruling to coincide with their beliefs.

EXEMPT: Sikh motorcyclists are not required by law to wear helmets as it goes against their religious beliefs

EXEMPT: Sikh motorcyclists are not required by law to wear helmets as it goes against their religious beliefs

The Dewsbury resident was thrown from his bike and went ‘airborne’ after the crash, an eyewitness told the inquest.

Investigators added that Mr Kalsi may have suffered from obstructed vision due to the wind and drizzle, which would have effected motorcyclists without helmets.

“At speed, wind and water in the eyes can blind you and I know to put the visor down,” Det Con Noel Lowden, who investigated the accident, told the inquest:

“It’s a surmisation but that could have affected his vision.”

Coroner Mary Burke concluded that Mr Kalsi had died as the result of a road accident.

It is believed Mr Kalsi, who had been riding close to the kerb, may have attempted to undertake the van resulting in the coming together of the vehicles – or had simply failed to see it ‘slow, indicate or turn into the complex’.

Ms Burke added: “There’s no evidence that suggests Kulraj was slowing down as the vehicle was beginning its manoeuvre and it’s not possible to say why he was in the position he was.”

Ms Burke added Mr Kalsi, who had epilepsy, may have suffered a seizure before the crash.

“It may be that Kulraj became unwell and he suffered from some health issues that prevented him from slowing down,” she said. “But we can only postulate”.

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