Speedy disabled man told: Get out and walk
A disabled pensioner was recently stopped by German police for speeding on his electric cart and reportedly ordered to continue his journey on foot.
Klaus-Dieter Stellmacher, 63, was on his way home in the town of Schwedt in the eastern state of Brandenburg last week when he zoomed passed a parked police car. He was confronted by five officers who claimed he exceeded the 6 kph speed limit which applies to drivers with no third-party insurance, he told the regional daily Märkische Oderzeitung.
According to specifications provided by manufacturers of the Shoprider 889-XLS, the vehicle's maximum speed-limit is the prescribed 6 kph.
But Stellmacher, left with disabilities after a series of strokes, says this explanation was not accepted and he was told to continue his journey home on foot while pushing the heavy cart.
Police spokesman Gerald Pillkuhn confirmed that colleagues had encountered Stellmacher travelling at excessive speed. "If he doesn't know how fast his vehicle is able to travel, it would have been careless to allow him to continue his journey", Pillkuhn told Die Welt newspaper.
Whether the officers really instructed him to continue his journey on foot, however, remains unclear.
A test conducted on the cart later revealed that it's able to reach double the speed claimed by the manufacturer. Apparently the retiree wasn't aware of this.
"Does the police now want to make a name for itself at the expense of the disabled?" Elke Grunwald, Schwedt's senior citizens' representative, told the Märkische Oderzeitung.
"The police should rather be present on the streets during the evening. Many of the elderly are afraid to step outside for fear of being mugged."
She said she will refer the matter to the mayor.