Social (media) Skills

Social (media) Skills

If you are a chronic exhibitionist and decide to post video or images of you getting up to full scale illegal shenanigans on social media, could this result in any legal consequences?

Is it stupid to be putting riding pics and vids up on social media? Me and my friends like to have a laugh and we’re always up for posting stuff online: wheelies; burnouts – the usual. I’ve never really thought much about it, because everyone does it.

But I got chatting to a guy who told me he heard of a rider getting nicked for uploading an on-board video of him speeding (you could see the bike’s dash).

That made me wonder whether me and my mates mucking around could have the same consequence? I’m a little worried because we’ve been uploading pics and videos for years now, so there’s a fair bit of evidence, if you like, to work against us. Do I need to be worried? And should I stop posting stuff?

Answer

The short answer is yes, it certainty can. If you are daft enough to publish your criminal actions then expect the police to take the opportunity of a high profile and potentially easy nick.

The level of bad riding for the police to get involved has to be pretty bad. 40mph in a 30 zone on social media is not going to get your collar felt but doubling the speed limit, contravening double white line systems, wheelies, stoppies or forcing cars or other road users out of your way will attract the attention of the police, particularly if somebody takes the trouble to draw your footage to the attention of the police.

However, the mere fact that there is video evidence of bad riding is not enough for the police to commence a prosecution. The police will need to prove the identity of the miscreant, but they can do this quite imaginatively.

In one case in which I was involved the identity of the driver was proven to the satisfaction of the court by face mapping of the rider of the motorcycle being taken from reflections off his clocks, his key ring and fob, reflections from his leathers, his gloves which appeared on video and matched marks on his steering column from his bike and the video. And his camera running as he pulled out of his garage and past his wife’s car registered to their address with a partial number plate caught on camera.

I was not involved on the criminal side of that just the civil side but even with no direct identifying evidence his identity as the rider was easily proven. His conviction made his civil case a whole lot harder and he was convicted only by his own video footage.

The location and approximate time of bad riding also has to be proven, but that is relatively easy. Road signs on footage are big clues as to locations. When an offence took place can be harder but video footage may contain clues, and also the drivers who you have gone tearing past are easily trackable through their registration plates and they can give direct evidence as to the time and location of the riding of a motorcycle matching the description of your motorcycle.

The biggest difficulty for the prosecution is identifying the rider, but as YouTube posters tend to be a touch on the narcissistic spectrum they all identify themselves. The police will be able to ask, within 14 days of an offence, for the registered keeper to name the driver and failure to name is a six point offence, but the reality is the police simply do not have the resources to swoop into action like this.

However, old fashioned coppering also works, and repeatedly poking police officers with your willingness to break the law is not always a bright idea. If the local fast boys of the road traffic section know that you are tear arsing around on their patch and posting it on social media you will become a priority target and you will, if you annoy them enough, lead them right to your garage door.

In these days of police cuts intelligence led policing is the name of the game. It is remarkably easy for the police to locate the epicentre of motorcycle devilry and even if the prosecution fails on the basis of your bad ass YouTuberey you will have made yourself an unnecessarily obvious target for the local police.

If I were prosecuting I would want to introduce any available footage as evidence into any criminal prosecution, it might well not get in as its prejudicial value outweighs its probative worth but why take the risk? There are few upsides fo putting your illegal riding onto social media. I am struggling to think of one. I can think of numerous disadvantages though.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes October 2017

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: October 26, 2017 at 12:00 am

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.