An Ottawa, Ontario man has been charged with trying to pass off a teddy bear as a child so he would have enough passengers to qualify to use a carpooling lane. He was charged on two consecutive days this week.
In Gatineu a car must have a driver and at least two passengers to qualify to use the carpooling lane. According to Gatineau police spokesperson, Constable Isabelle Poirier, on Tuesday, October 20 officers saw the man with a teddy bear strapped into a car seat in a carpooling lane on Fournier Boulevard. The teddy bear was even wearing a disguise complete with a toque and a scarf to make him look more like a child. Const. Poirier told CBC news that, "This is not a real person. You have to drive in the lane with three people inside [your car]. Three real people."
The man faces a fine of $144 if he is convicted.
Remarkably, the man is alleged to have tried the same ruse again the very next day. On Wednesday police again saw the same man, woman and teddy bear in the Fournier carpooling lane on Wednesday. According to Const. Poirier, "The teddy bear was wearing the same scarf and toque the next morning. There were two people and a teddy bear in the back seat." Again, charges were laid and the man is facing a second fine of $144.
Illegal use of carpool lanes is a strange but common offense. There have been numerous incidents of drivers trying to pass off mannequins, blow up dolls, and even balloons with faces painted on them as passengers to use the carpool lane. A thread on Amazon.com's Askville forum starts, "Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?" Apparently, this is the first instance in which a driver has tried to disguise a teddy bear as a passenger.
Const Poirier's advice to the couple was simple, "We hope he decides to leave the teddy bear at home next time because we had to give him another $144 ticket."