Police warn community ‘train’ operator about driving ride on town streets

by Keith Corcoran

The driver of a childrens' ride operating during a weekend fundraiser was warned about taking the attraction to the streets.

Children riding in trailers hauled by a "black and yellow striped jeep" were seen travelling September 29 on the west side of town, driving on King Street and Dufferin Street. The Bridgewater Police Service conducted a traffic stop at the Gateway Plaza and issued a written warning to the driver whom, Deputy Police Chief Danny MacPhee said, was likely breaking several traffic safety rules.

"They had a route through town that they were driving with trailers that aren't safe for the road and passengers on it that aren't allowed back there; it's not a parade route," MacPhee said to LighthouseNOW.

Contraventions such as hauling passengers under the age of 16 without safety belts, having trailers on the road without proper registration and inspection and specific rules concerning tandem trailers and specific weights were among possible violations. The warning was specific to the passenger/seat-belt aspect.

Police saw five trailers with at least five children aboard each trailer.

"It's one thing if you're on the exhibition grounds or at the Michelin safety fair but once you're on the roadway you've got to follow the rules of the road," MacPhee said.

No charges were laid. Police didn't want to be accused of "wrecking" an event, MacPhee indicated, but the matter was documented and law enforcement delivered a cautionary message.

The Giant Tiger community train, or Tiger train, was offering rides as part of an event raising money for the SHAID Tree Animal Shelter in Whynotts Settlement. Giant Tiger is a large Canadian retailer with a store location at Gateway Plaza in Bridgewater.

A spokeswoman for Giant Tiger Stores told LighthouseNOW that "the store was aware of the issue and is committed to ensuring that it does not happen again."

The Tiger train is only allowed to operate on closed and secured roads and pathways, Alison Scarlett said in an email.

"At Giant Tiger the safety, security and well-being of our customers and communities is our number one priority. We will be undergoing a throughout review to determine what happened and to ensure that we are learning from this and implementing further safeguards to ensure that it does not happen again."

Thanks to the generosity of customers and a contribution from the store, the community event itself raised $1,500 for the no-kill animal shelter.

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