Careful of the YouTube Eyes Upon You

We are a generation of sharers. We record everything. Whether it’s a dash cam, helmet cam, bike-mounted Go Pro Cam or otherwise, we document everything we do and everywhere we go. Of course, the urge to post and share our adventures on two wheels is too tantalizing to resist, especially once the view count rises. Once you realize people are noticing, you post more hoping to repeat the success.

But are you getting the kind of attention that you really want? Are you posting viral sensations or stacking evidence against yourself?

With notoriety comes a price.

While you’re enjoying your five seconds of Internet fame, you’re handing your ass to local law enforcement on a silver platter. The more people that see your felonious activity, the higher up on the Wanted List you go. Being an outlaw may seem romantic at first, as you’re flashing the LEO’s the proverbial finger behind a Guy Fawkes mask, but once the notoriety has worn off, you become just another poor sucker behind bars.

Social media is becoming our downfall.

Some people have become wiser. We’re aware that privacy has gone out the window and we know not to post anything work-related or any content that could compromise our employment or manner of living. It’s one thing to get fired; it’s another to implicate yourself to the point of incarceration.

And such was the unfortunate consequence for poor riders such as Hector Martinez, Zack Shlief, Robert Hammond, and Randy George Scott, to name a few.

Hector thought it’d be a great idea to shut down the freeway with 300 or so of his moto buddies, do a bunch of stunts and then propose to his girlfriend. Had no one ever posted anything, it might have been a once-in-a-lifetime, gotten-away-with-it experience. The drivers stuck behind the cacophony of roaring engines and blinding smoke would have been irritated and called the police, but Hector and his fiancé could have been able to make a break for it. Alas, the spectacle was too grandiose not to share, and the video of the event quickly went viral. Not only was Hector arrested, but three of his buddies were too. In the LA Times article, it states, “This event received media attention by way of the Internet, television, various newspapers and radio stations all over the country,” the CHP said. “After a thorough investigation, four of the main individuals involved in this incident were identified.” In essence, Hector’s proposal landed him with the old ball and chain, both inside and outside of jail.

Which brings us to Zack Shlief. Zack was supposedly a Marin County Sheriff’s Officer, along with being a member of Bay Area Super Moto or BASM. During one of their many rides through the streets of the city, Zack was filmed with doing wheelies on public streets. But after an ambitious journalist located a photo of Zack standing next to a squad car, the media rained down on him hard, causing him to lose his job. Was it fair that he was targeted because he was supposedly betraying his creed to uphold the law? Or did non-riders find the perfect scapegoat to make a point for concerns of safety? Luckily, Zack only last his job. Still, for many of us, with bills to pay and a reputation that has to last us to retirement, that can be as bad as a jail sentence.

Unfortunately for Randy George Scott, a joy ride on his mother’s motorcycle cost his mom about $1500 and it cost Randy a warrant for his arrest, all because of an incriminating video he posted which depicts him riding in excess of 100 mph (supposedly near 200 mph, but you know how the media exaggerates). Had he never posted anything, he would have been like many of us who open up the throttle for just a minute when we think no one’s looking, back off, park the bike in the garage and forget it ever happened. Sorry Randy.

Last but not least, Robert Hammond from the UK landed himself in prison after cops pulled him over and pulled the memory card from his camera. His footage didn’t even make it online before he got arrested for doing wheelies and exceeding the speed limit. That almost seems like getting arrested for a lewd and lascivious act in public without ever even taking your clothes off. And for god sakes, the guy’s 60 and in my experience, those seasoned gentlemen from the UK are better riders than most of us here in the states. But put a couple of cars in his path, and suddenly he’s public enemy #1.

It seems a bit ridiculous to me to pack our already crowded jail cells with guys who like to speed and do wheelies. It almost seems by bikers incriminating themselves with their videos, they’re also handing their hard earned money over to the local court system, money that could have been used on bike parts. Bummer.

The point is for the 30% of riders that love to ride and share, there’s the 70% of the non-riding population who are annoyed with their behavior. People are fed up and the young guys who maintain a reckless riding style have ruined it for the rest of us. Now, law enforcement is doing all they can to stop it. Can you really blame them? The evidence is right there on YouTube and if police ignored it, they wouldn’t be doing their job, would they? They might even be saving motorcyclists from themselves by putting hazardous behavior in check early on. But it blows me away that some guys haven’t learned their lesson. Come on! You should know better by now!

I’m not saying not to ride fast or do stunts. By all means, please. I know it’s what I live for. I’m not saying you can’t come up with wild and crazy plans to propose to your girlfriend or boyfriend. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t film your rides. A camera can help you just as much as it can hurt you.

What I am saying is for god sakes, if you’re going to do any of the above, do it away from the general public and if you do, resist the urge to post it.