It seems that police in Germany are a little over zealous when it comes to enforcing road safety, as is apparent from a recent incident in Cologne.
An innocent cyclist, Bogdan Ionescu, was riding through Cologne city center when he was stopped by a police officer who said he was driving dangerously. When the officer realised that Mr Ionescu was actually missing an arm, he turned his attention to the fact that Ionescu had adapted his brakes to work off a single lever, for obvious reasons. Even though that type of adaptation is perfectly legal, Ionescu received a $40 fine from the officer anyways. The story made headline news in Germany and Ionescu’s fine has been cancelled. He also received a full apology from the over-zealous officer.
The police said that the man’s bicycle breached German road safety standards as it didn’t have two brake levers. However, Mr Ionescu had simply moved the second brake lever so he could control it with his foot. Having had a 25 minute argument with the officer, Ionescu was also told that he didn’t have the correct legally required lights on his bike. He paid the fine as he was running late for work, and didn’t have the time to stand there and argue. Even though the innocent biker complained about the way he was treated by police when he was pulled over, officials only took action after he went to the newspapers to tell his story.
The police say that as soon as they found out about what had happened, they contacted Mr. Ionescu, apologized and refunded the fine. He told the German publication Kölner Stadtanzeiger: “It’s great news, I’m really happy. It’s good that this is how it ends, it’s unbelievably good.”
The whole incident is a huge embarrassment for the German police, which have done what they can to make amends to Bogdan Ionescu.