BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…..
Bruno Haßler presses his horn three times – a small switch, with which he can steer up to ten secondary functions, such as the handbrake – and it immediately flashes on the right. “ Take care and hold tight“, the driving instructor, Ralf Buhmann warns, “ Brake test passed“, he praises. The last and most important test is the steering ability with the installed hand fork. “ He must manage a complete turn without repeated pushing and gripping „, Buhmann explains. “ It’s really important when turning a complete circle and at roundabouts.“ These are the first driving practices for Bruno Haßler in his new Peugeot Traveller.
Until now he has been using his VW Passat, fitted out with the standard 10-N- mobility steering and hand fork, with an acceleration, brake slide control and a wheelchair loading system. The 67 year old has been in a wheelchair since a motorbike accident in 1969. He could move out of his wheelchair to drive until he got problems with his shoulder. “ It got more and more difficult and then my wheelchair slid away from me“, said the once Paralympics table tennis champion. „Driving was no problem but help was needed when ge in and out.“
His new car has “ light steering“ with 6N and a radial hand operated device for acceleration and braking. In the future he will be able to drive with his wheelchair directly in front of the steering wheel using the PARAVAN cassette lift. For this reason, the steering block will be especially lengthened by seven centimeters „, eports Arthur Flaig, the technician responsible for the conversion,“ to provide the best possible place for the wheelchair. „
Bruno Haßler’s folding wheelchair has also been modified, a spike has been attached underneath so that it can be secured to the vehicle’s floor using a fixture. “ I didn’t imagine the wheelchair would be such a good driver’s seat, “ Bruno Haßler reports after his first drive. “ It feels sturdy .“ The wheelchair is also secured by an electric backrest. The individually fitted backrest support slots into the wheelchair by pressing a button. Then a normal safety belt is put on. Lastly, the integrated armrest, for his right arm with which he accelerates and brakes, comes to rest in the chosen position.
The best possible seat is important for fatigue free driving „, Thomas Minden, the technical expert, explains. There is also a flexible backrest which can be used for the passenger seat when Bruno Haßler is being chauffeured by his sister. Bruno Haßler played table tennis in the A league for 18 years. Before his accident he only played as a hobby. He finally discovered that it is his sport at the Murnauer Clinic while doing rehabilitation sport. “ I was always a mad sportsman and I wanted to do it.“ He played in big competitions, worldwide, in the 1980s and 90s, won at the Paralympics. „I’ve never missed a big championship and have always stood on the winner’s podium“, he says. Later he was active as a trainer in his hometown club in Radolfzell, as well as working as an industrial clerk.
His new car is all set for the future. Even if his shoulder problems should worsen, his car is designed to carry on being adaptable. Bruno Haßler is very satisfied with his new car, the light steering, acceleration and brakes. He really doubted that he would ever be able to sit in his wheelchair with a similar feeling as when in the driver’s seat. “ It has been fulfilled 100 percent and the steering is easy“, he says. Meanwhile Bruno Haßler has driven several thousand kilometers. His first long drive was to Passau. His sister Rosemarie is now driven more often. “ Now you can be the passenger“, he said to her.