Calgary

YYC scooter guy gets new ride after video of scary Deerfoot trip goes viral

A video of a guy riding a scooter on a snowy Calgary highway has been viewed thousands of times, and helped launch a campaign to get him a safe and reliable vehicle.

Calgary radio station launched campaign after hearing 'there's a lot more to the story'

Virgin Radio launched a crowdfunding campaign for Diedrich Penner who was having a tough time supporting his family. He was forced to drive this scooter around after he had to sell his vehicle for financial reasons. (Mike Symington/CBC)

One man's extremely cold scooter ride on a snowy Calgary highway seems to have melted the hearts of Calgarians. 

A video of his trip down the busy Deerfoot Trail thoroughfare surfaced over the weekend and has since been viewed thousands of times.

"Deerfoot Trail, icy roads, cars in the ditch everywhere ... and then there's this guy!" posted real estate agent Kim Star, who uploaded the video Sunday.


The guy turned out to be Diedrich Penner — a construction worker who had to get rid of his vehicle in 2014 because of financial reasons. He lives with his mother in northeast Calgary, and pays the mortgage for his family.

He used the scooter to get to work when he couldn't find a ride.

He was riding his moped down the QE2 highway in the middle of Sunday's snowstorm to get to church because his friend was not able to pick him up.

He says he has never braved a snow-covered Deerfoot on his scooter before, and had to put his feet down on the pavement every few feet for balance.

"It was a little bit nerve-racking, I guess," he said. "I kept my signal light flashing the whole time so cars could see. My main concern was to make sure other cars could see me."

Campaign launched for new ride

That's when Tyler Hall from Virgin Radio in Calgary came into the picture. He started talking about the video during the station's morning show on Monday, but soon received calls telling him "there's a lot more to the story," he said.

So he decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to help find Penner a safe and reliable vehicle.

"I was totally blown away," said Hall about the quick response from Calgarians.

The GoFundMe page raised thousands of dollars in just hours, and then they got news that used-car dealer AutoMaxx plans to give Penner a car.

This crowdfunding campaign was closed Tuesday morning after a car was donated to Diedrich Penner. (GoFundMe)

Hall said the funds raised will instead be used to help pay for insurance and gas money.

"I feel very appreciative and grateful, and I feel blessed," said Penner, adding he doesn't want people to feel sorry for him.

Calgary's traffic bylaw prohibits the use of a "slow-moving vehicle" — defined as not being able to go over 40 km/h — on busy roads like Deerfoot Trail.

The scooter can go faster, but Calgary police say a vehicle should be able to comfortably go 100 km/h to drive on Deerfoot, and are reminding others who may want to venture out on snowy roads with a scooter to take precautions. 

"Even if it is legal, it's not something we would advise — especially in these conditions," a police spokesperson told CBC News.

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