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Is It Legal To Ghost Ride The Whip?

Is it legal to ghost ride the whip
There are always some daredevils out there who do crazy adrenaline-pumping stunts to show off on social media. Some do parkour in five-story buildings. Some bungee jump off clips. And others hang off ledges.

While you may say that these stunts are dangerous, professionals are usually the ones who do these. The problem arises when ordinary people try to imitate them, leading to accidents, or worse, death.

And back in the early 2000s, there was a viral stunt that even teenagers copied – Ghost Riding the Whip.

What is it to Ghost Ride the Whip?

Ghost riding the whip means getting out of a moving vehicle and dancing beside or on top of it. It was brought to mainstream media by American rapper E-40 in his song “Tell Me When to Go” back in 2006.

Ghost riding is another term for car surfing, too, riding vehicles that move without any drivers, like a car without hand brakes moving down a slope.

The ghost ride the whip sensation originated in the Bay Area of Northern California, where people do them as sideshows. It got popular because of the “hyphy” subculture and Bay Area music.

Can You Get Into Trouble For Ghost Riding The Whip?

You will not find any specific laws that prohibit you from ghost riding the whip. If you ghost ride the whip on private land, no one can tell you can’t do it. But if you were to do this stunt in public, that would be a different story.

Teenagers are getting hurt because of these stunts, even deaths. So you bet authorities will ensure that no one does this in public. There may be no specific laws, but they’ll find ways to fine and arrest you if they see you doing this. Possible charges would be Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle or Reckless Driving

What Would Constitute Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle or Reckless Driving? 

Different places will have various definitions of these two charges. But most will typically use the considerations below to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are recklessly operating or driving your vehicle.

  • Operating a moving vehicle
  • In a public space
  • Recklessly

The first two elements are not hard to prove since it’s easy to establish if you are driving your car in a private or public area. The only disputed element would be whether you were driving recklessly or not.


To be reckless is to willingly ignore your manner of driving can lead to serious injury or death. It’s easy enough to understand but is hard to prove in court. Every detail counts, like: the speed at which you were driving, the manner you were operating, your physical condition and how well you can operate your vehicle, the condition of your vehicle, the road type, the weather, the time of day, and whether there are other people besides you when you were driving. The court will aggressively cross-examine each of these.

Is There a Need for an Accident to be Reckless?

Car accidents are not necessary to prove you were recklessly operating or driving your vehicle. And it’s because the sole issue is whether you willingly ignored or were indifferent to the fact that you can injure or kill someone because of how you operated or drove your car.

If you cause an accident, you are not automatically guilty of recklessness. The court will examine all evidence on how the accident came to be to determine whether you were at fault. And if so, whether your conduct was reckless.

Police Officers Observation

If you receive a charge on either reckless operation or driving, but there were no accidents, the basis of your charge will be a police officer’s observation. It’s common for officers to come to court to testify against drivers who are recklessly driving their cars. 

There are times when attorneys can rebut the claims of officers if the defendant has a legitimate reason on why they were driving in such a manner. But ghost riding the whip would be hard to defend since you purposely came out of your moving car to dance or whatever beside it.

The Consequences of Recklessly Operating or Driving Your Vehicle

Recklessly operating or driving your vehicle can increase the risk of accidents. But not only that, it can carry the penalties below too.

  • Tickets and Fines – If the police catch you and your reckless behavior, you can get a ticket and associated fines.
  • Loss of your license – Reckless manners in operating or driving your car can lead to the suspension of your license. And in some cases, authorities can permanently revoke it.
  • Increase insurance premiums – Insurance premiums may increase if you are known for your recklessness when operating a vehicle. Insurance companies don’t like bearing your burden.
  • Difficulty getting hired – If your job needs you to drive a vehicle, you can get into trouble after a conviction for recklessly driving or operating your car. You may also have difficulty applying for positions requiring a high level of trust and ethical behavior.
  • Jail Time – In some cases, you could go to jail because of your reckless behavior, especially if you’re the cause of an accident or death.

So What Do You Do If Someone Is Ghost Riding the Whip in Public?

If you saw someone about to ghost ride the whip in public, do not engage them. It’s usually a group that does this stunt. And you could get hurt if they get angry at you. Road rage is pretty common. So it would be best to observe them from a distance.

If they pose a threat to public safety, call 911 immediately. Report the type of car, the license plate, and location. Authorities will take the necessary steps to prevent accidents.


The adrenaline rush and the potential to go viral on the internet because of ghost riding the whip is what attracts people to do this stunt. But you cannot deny how risky it is, especially in public. So if you are not a professional, refrain from doing it. And if you are, do it in a private area to minimize the risk of an accident.

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