Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

No, you can't ride a motorcycle while wearing a panda head

What this guy did was illegal, the State Patrol says.
Author:

It doesn't matter how close it is to Halloween, you can't wear a panda head while riding a motorcycle.

Yep, someone has been pulling this stunt on Minnesota highways, and the State Patrol has the photo to prove it. They shared the image in a Facebook post on Tuesday, which begins with the line "So. Many. Questions."

GoMN also has so many questions, like is this illegal? If so, why? 

Under Minnesota law, you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet (unless you're under 18 or only have a learner's permit). All you are required to wear is eye protection – a panda head technically does that, and might even provide a bit of cushioning between your skull and the pavement if you were to crash.

But let's put a pin in that, and get back to the story...

The first sighting of a motorcycling panda happened earlier this summer, when a "concerned motorist" called 911 to report the rider on Hwy 101, the Facebook post says.

"Rightfully so, they were concerned about the person’s vision being obstructed and worried because the rider was weaving through traffic and riding no-handed," the State Patrol wrote.

That day, the biker got away before troopers could locate him. But apparently that wasn't the only time he caused some panda-monium.

On Aug. 31, dispatchers watching traffic cameras spotted the same guy on I-394. This time, troopers were able to pull over the driver, "who wanted his riding videos to go viral," the State Patrol says.

Why it's illegal

Instead of a viral video, Pandaman got a ticket. What he did was illegal, the State Patrol says.

"Halloween’s not for more than a month. And even if Halloween was today, this would not be OK – or legal, in case you were wondering," the agency wrote in the Facebook post.

Lieutenant Tiffani Nielson, spokeswoman for the State Patrol, told GoMN the driver was cited not just for wearing the panda head (though that's illegal, too).

"Troopers witnessed him popping wheelies, driving with no hands on the front of the bike, and weaving in and out of traffic," Nielson said.

He actually was wearing a helmet, she added, which was under the panda head. 

But the trooper who pulled him over believed he couldn't see three feet in front of him. He was cited for reckless driving, and also got a warning for obstructed view.

The fluffy head was also confiscated, because the trooper didn't want the driver putting it back on. But Nielson said he can have it back if he wants to pick it up.

She said this isn't the first time a driver has pulled something like this. In the past, other drivers have gotten ticketed around Halloween because they were wearing masks or costumes that obstructed their vision.

Here's a warning the State Patrol has for other motorcyclists:

"Riders: Make sure you can see and be seen. A panda head will not protect you in a crash like a DOT-approved helmet would."

Next Up

Snow, Hanley Falls

Latest storm track, snow forecast for weekend winter storm

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch.

gianni's wayzata heated patio

These Twin Cities restaurants have heated patios for outdoor winter dining

From bonfires to igloos, Twin Cities restaurants have you covered as temperatures drop.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.

covid

3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

Related

More people are taking photos and videos while driving, new survey says

State Farm says drivers know better than to use their phones, but do it anyway.

Would you pay to drive through Wisconsin? You might have to

The state could earn up to $40 billion in 30 years by adding toll booths, new study says.

Nicollet man killed in motorcycle crash Saturday morning

A 31-year-old motorcyclist went off the road and was killed. The State Patrol is investigating.

Don't test your luck by driving drunk – get a free ride on St. Patrick's Day

Extra patrols will be out this weekend to make sure people are driving sober.

PSA: Don't 'block the box' – it makes downtown traffic even worse

Traffic has sucked this week, but Minneapolis says some drivers are making it worse.

PSA: Don't 'block the box' – it makes downtown traffic even worse

Traffic has sucked this week, but Minneapolis says some drivers are making it worse.

Reminder: If it's snowing, you need to turn your headlights on

Here's what Minnesota law says about lights while driving in poor weather.