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."