Video of motorcycle stunts along 101 Freeway sparks CHP investigation
A jaw-dropping promotional video in which a retired motocross-rider-turned-real-estate-agent leaps a 101 Freeway access ramp and blasts through farmland along the busy highway has triggered an investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
Topher Ingalls, a former professional racer, posted the video to YouTube last week as a humorous advertisement for his real estate work. The video purports to show Ingalls as he commutes to work at Buschur Realty in San Luis Obispo.
Wearing a helmet, tie and riding boots, Ingalls jumps over and onto a 101 Freeway access ramp in Atascadero, hops farm fences and pulls wheelies on his KTM 350 dual-sport motorcycle.
While the rider is clearly very skilled, not everyone has taken the video in the spirit with which it seemingly was intended.
“It is disturbing that someone would drive so carelessly on the freeways like that, putting innocent people in danger,” CHP officer Patrick Seebart said.
Reached by telephone Friday, Ingalls told The Times that he just wanted to share his experience of transitioning from racing to real estate and that he didn’t intend to do anything unsafe.
He said he has gotten mostly positive feedback from riders and fellow Realtors, but said he was taking the video down.
“It depends on how you look at it. It’s not a video of destruction or reckless stuff,” said Ingalls, who rode professionally for six years. “None of it felt dangerous to me.”
Atascadero police Sgt. Caleb Davis said the stunts were “extremely dangerous” and said it looked like Ingalls was riding on private property.
“That guy is jumping off some areas I’ve never seen before,” Davis said. “At least he was wearing a helmet.”
The video has irked some in the motorcycle community, including Aaron Cortez, who writes for the Bike Bandit Blog. Cortez wrote that videos like Ingalls’ can harm a sport whose riders are mostly law-abiding
“These are the kind of stunts that are not only dangerous, but also draw the ire of the nonriding public at large, who use this as ammunition to ban vehicles, close down riding areas and encourage police to ‘crack down’ on riders,” Cortez wrote.
The video got picked up by Cycle World, which called it “the best marketing video we’ve seen in years, if not ever.”
Cycle World associate editor Bradley Adams gave Ingalls props for trying to inspire riders.
“I’m not sure that everything (or anything) in this video is 100% legal, but I’ll give credit to Ingalls for thinking outside of the box and putting the clip together,” Adams wrote.
For those who haven’t seen the video and would like to check it out, you’re out of luck. Shortly after speaking with The Times, Ingalls announced he was taking the video down.
“In hindsight and after hearing some people’s feelings about the video, we are going to pull it down,” Ingalls said. “Sorry to anyone who was offended.”
Last month, a man who ripped around San Diego in a souped-up Volkswagen pleaded guilty to several charges, including reckless driving.
The driving by Blake Wilkey, 27, was captured in a viral video seen by more than 1 million people. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and placed on three years probation.
Follow @bposton on Twitter.
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.