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Motorized Coolers Meet Traffic Laws

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By Jason Beahm on July 26, 2010 6:55 AM

In yet another sign of the impending apocalypse, a Nova Scotia man was cited after he was caught driving a motorized cooler down a sidewalk. The tricked out red cooler was fully equipped with standard features such as mp3 player, radio, enhanced suspension, cup holders and a 5.5 horsepower motor. Neil Rideout of New Waterford is fighting the ticket he received on his ultimate urban vehicle for $222 under Nova Scotia's Motor Vehicle Act. Rideout, 42, plans to fight the ticket in court. His trial is scheduled for February 2nd.

Rideout claims he drove the cooler on the sidewalk because he had earlier been told by police that he could not ride it on the street. He said it can go as fast as 50km/h though he generally drives it between 5 and 10km/h. He was approached by police while driving down the sidewalk to the local convenience store. "The police officer came up to me and said, 'Mr. Rideout, may I search your vehicle?' " said Rideout. "At that point, thinking that it was a joke, I kind of lifted the top of the cooler and said, 'Officer, go ahead.'" The officer allegedly searched the cooler but did not find any alcohol or contraband.

A spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Police Service confirmed that Rideout was fined for driving the cooler on the sidewalk. According to the police, only motorized wheelchairs are allowed on a sidewalk. Any other motorized vehicle is prohibited. Rideout disputes that facts, arguing that electric scooters and kids toys are frequently driven on the sidewalk, although they do not receive fines. Rideout says he is being discriminated against.

Interestingly enough, stories such as these are not totally uncommon though they more frequently involve bar patrons getting DUIs while riding their motorized coolers, bar stools and other custom vehicles home. Generally, if it has a motor (and sometimes even if it doesn't) you have to obey the rules of the road or you can be cited and arrested.

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