Never, Ever Try to Outrun the Law

Elwood Blues was right: you can’t outrun a police radio, or a helicopter.

byJustin Hughes|
Never, Ever Try to Outrun the Law

During a car chase scene in the much-maligned Blues Brothers 2000, Elwood Blues drops a gold nugget of wisdom: "You can't outrun a Motorola." Though numerous companies make two-way police radios, Elwood's point remains true: it is impossible to outrun a radio, because radio waves travel at the speed of light. You may easily ditch the officer behind you, but there will be more police waiting for you up the road when he radios ahead. Between radios and helicopters, there's pretty much no way you're going to escape. It's not worth running and putting yourself, and others, at risk.

Yet people keep trying. It seems that nearly every day there's a pursuit in Los Angeles. Just yesterday, a chase happened near where I live in Massachusetts, ending with the suspect's Mustang spun off the highway. I've wasted hours watching performed in-depth research on many pursuit videos on YouTube. Every single one ends with the suspect being apprehended, and sometimes shot. Many end in crashes, sometimes involving completely innocent passers-by who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is it really worth endangering your life, or theirs, to try to get away from a ticket?

A common myth among motorcyclists is that bikes are so much faster than police cars that it's worth it to run, because they probably can't catch you. It's true that most motorcycles can accelerate faster than most cars. But if a helicopter is in the area, there's no way the rider will escape that eye in the sky, no matter how fast they go. Plus, if they get the license plate number, they can simply wait at the address where the bike is registered.

In fact, many police departments have a policy prohibiting high speed pursuits of motorcycles for public safety reasons—as well as for the safety of the motorcyclist. The biker has everything to lose, and in some cases they do lose their lives. The video above was posted by a friend of a rider who recently died after crashing while running from the police. While the community is mainly focused on the tragic death of the rider, YouTuber KawiKatana correctly points out that he brought this on himself by running in the first place. The rider was known for stunting and riding recklessly, and he chose to run instead of taking his licks when the law caught him. In thinking that he could escape what he had coming, he left behind a wife and family. No rider likes to hear about another rider meeting their end in a crash, but in the end, he brought this on himself.

If you're going to speed, at least read what Alex Roy has to say on the matter. He's an expert. And if you do get caught, just pull over and take the ticket. It's not worth it to run.