Drunk driver in Cologne rides e-scooter on Autobahn

German police on Thursday stopped an inebriated 27-year-old man who was caught riding an electric scooter on a motorway.

Drunk driver in Cologne rides e-scooter on Autobahn
A man testing an e-scooter in Cologne in April. Photo: DPA

Police in the western city of Cologne said they received numerous calls at around 2:20 am reporting a man driving an e-scooter on the hard shoulder of the A4.

“The police located the man within a few minutes and put an end to a dangerous situation,” Cologne police said in a statement.

German news agency DPA reported that the e-scooter rider was still holding a beer when he was pulled over, but a police spokesman told AFP he could not confirm that detail.

READ ALSO: Revealed: What you think of the rise of e-scooters in Germany

The rider told police “he ended up on the motorway by accident”.

A blood test later showed the man had a alcohol level of 1.3 promille, more than twice the legal limit for car drivers.

He now faces a drunk driving charge.

Germany's Autobahn motorways are famous for their long stretches without  speed limitations, although e-scooters are only allowed to go up to 20 kilometres per hour.

The use of electric scooters has mushroomed in Germany in recent months, as
in many other countries.

While users hail the ease with which they can zip through cities, critics complain the scooters clutter up streets and are less climate-friendly than they appear.

E-scooters are banned from motorways but have repeatedly ended up there anyway.

In August, a Frenchman was killed after he was hit by a motorbike while  riding an e-scooter on a motorway outside Paris.

READ ALSO: Impatient train passenger takes electric scooter onto German Autobahn

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Ancient Jewish settlement to be brought back to life in Cologne

No city north of the Alps has been home to Jews for as long as the Roman settlement of Cologne. A recently discovered Jewish quarter is now being brought back to life.

Ancient Jewish settlement to be brought back to life in Cologne
The site of the construction in Cologne. Photo: DPA

If you are a tourist walking through the centre of Cologne, sooner rather than later, you'll come across a construction site located in the very best position, in the middle of the town hall square.

At the beginning of this millennium, the people of Cologne dug into the earth directly in front of their historic city hall and found a treasure from another millennium: the Jewish quarter.

Complete with a dance hall, a hospital, a bakery and a synagogue, the quarter contains the ruins of a settlement from the Middle Ages. It is a city within a city, a miniature world of houses huddled together. 

Of course, all that is left is ruins – one needs a bit of imagination to picture how the whole thing once looked. But experts from Germany and abroad agree: there's nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

Ancient tradition

No other German city has been associated with Jewish history for so long as Cologne. 

The first documented Jewish community dates back to the year 321, making it the oldest north of the Alps. 

But in 1349, the neighbourhood was destroyed and its inhabitants were murdered or expelled. Local Christians blamed Jews for the outbreak of the plague.

Currently, a museum is being built over the site on the town hall square. It will be a parallel world underground: visitors will be able to relive life in the Jewish quarter in the era of knights and minstrels on a 600-meter-long trail. The trail also visits the governor's palace from Roman times, which was rediscovered in the 1950s. 

The museum is called MiQua after the name for the Jewish ritual bath, Mikveh.

Exhibits will include artifacts found during the excavations; among them is a crescent-shaped, gem-set gold earring from the 11th century. 

The researchers also discovered a tablet dating back to the Middle Ages with the inscription “yt in ys neyt anders.” This could be translated as “Et is wie et is” (It is as it is) – a classic Cologne saying. 

The museum is scheduled to open in 2024, but through the panorama windows on the third floor of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, also located on Rathausplatz, one can already follow the progress of construction work.

This year Jewish life will be celebrated across the country – the anniversary year '1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany' will be celebrated nationwide. 

Hamburg is organising a themed week entitled 'More than Little Jerusalem'; in Nuremberg the photo exhibition 'Germany's Emigrants' will be opened; and in Herxheim in Rhineland-Palatinate the play Judas by Lot Vekemans will be staged.

READ MORE: 9 hilarious gifts Judaism gave the German language