German police apologise to one-armed cyclist fined for only having one brake lever

Rider had adapted bike with back pedal brake, making it legal

by Simon_MacMichael   July 2, 2014  

Brake lever (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Police in Germany have apologised to a one-armed cyclist after he was fined for only having one brake lever on the handlebars of his bike.

They have also reimbursed the rider, Bogdan Ionescu from Cologne, with the €25 he had to pay after he was stopped by a police officer in March, reports The Local.

Mr Ionescu had been told that his bike contravened German traffic laws since it had no right-hand brake lever.

However, he had adapted his bike with a back pedal, or coaster, brake on the rear wheel, which can be found on single-speed bikes and some with internal hub gear systems such as Shimano’s Nexus.

The Local says that according to the Kölner Stadtanzeiger newspaper, there was nothing illegal about the modifications.

It added that a police spokesman had apologised to the cyclist for the error, and that he would also be receiving a personal apology from the city’s chief of police.

Theatre box office worker Ionescu, who believed he had been he had been the subject of discrimination, said: "It's great news, I'm really happy. It's good that this is how it ends, it's unbelievably good.”

He added that the policeman who stopped him at lunchtime on 25 March had told him: "Your bike is unsafe, you have no brake on the right of your handlebar."

He replied: "I know, but I have one on the left and I have a back pedal brake so that I can stop the back wheel.”

3 user comments

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The cops fined him €25 on the spot and he paid as he was in a hurry for a meeting.

He later complained and was initially refunded only €20 for the brakes offence, which police admitted had been given out incorrectly. The police explained €5 of the initial fine was for not having working lights. He pointed out (with his good hand) the lights were powered by a dynamo and therefore weren't illuminated when he was at a halt.

The cops apologised after the story hit the German press where they were rightly ridiculed.


posted by OldRidgeback [2553 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 19:05


I was once stopped by a German policeman whilst driving a right-hand drive, but German registered, minibus.

As he was writing out a ticket for a minor violation the following exchange occurred
GP "You can have the steering wheel moved to the correct side!"
Me "But won't that make it difficult to reach the pedals on the other side?"

I thought he was going to shoot me!

posted by levermonkey [604 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 19:09


So the police officer thought that this guy would pull the brake lever with what, his teeth?

posted by Matt eaton [701 posts]
4th July 2014 - 19:07