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HUMOR: Why Bank Robbers Should Use Bicycles Instead of Getaway Cars
Unfortunately, both for society and the criminals, most bank robbers use cars as their getaway vehicle. This leads to increased risks for all and increased expenses for the robbers. A more sensible solution is for them to use bikes.

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Why Bank Robbers Should Use Bicycles Instead of Getaway Cars

Foreword (for the General Public):

Unfortunately, our society sends the message that cars are much more useful than bicycles to all members of society, both those involved in lawful activities and those involved in unlawful activities. There are many groups who make the effort to teach those involved in lawful activities that they should be riding bicycles, but no effort is made at all to encourage those who engage in unlawful activities. (NOTE: I am not referring to violating the traffic code, which could get a criminal into unnecessary trouble.) But don't those involved in crime need aerobic exercise as much as does the general public? Couldn't they benefit from the other advantages of a bicycle? Wouldn't it be safer for the public if their crimes were committed using bicycles rather than using cars? Therefore, the following recommendations have been advanced.

Ten Reasons Why Bikes Are Better Getaway Vehicles (Advice for Bank Robbers):

1) It's much cheaper to operate a bicycle than it is to operate a car. This is an important consideration when robbing banks. Although we mainly hear about bank robbers who leave the bank with hundreds of thousands of dollars, in actuality, the average bank robber gets away with just $257.83. Assuming that the getaway vehicle cost $25,000, the robber has to rob a hundred banks in order to pay for the vehicle, not a very likely accomplishment. However, the bicycle could be purchased from the profits of just one bank robbery. Someone might argue, "Well, I don't intend to purchase the vehicle but to steal it on the morning of the bank robbery," and it must be admitted that that is a good plan, although it does increase the risk of being arrested for car theft before ever making it to the bank. Stealing a suitable bicycle is much less risky.

2) Using a getaway car involves the much greater cost of having a partner waiting in the vehicle outside the door. This means that whatever amount you manage to take will have to be cut in half. It would be nice if your accomplice would get half of your jail term as well, but they don't figure things that way when handing out sentences. In addition, while he or she is waiting, he or she is burning up gasoline and fouling the spark plugs, which creates unnecessary pollution and damages the performance of the vehicle during the getaway. You run the risk that your partner may park illegally, and thus you may race out to the getaway car only to find a police officer standing there, writing up a ticket. Your partner may also smoke in the car, which is not good for your health, or play the radio too loud, which is not good for your nerves or your ears. Frankly, if you end up shooting your partner, you face a much stiffer sentence when caught. On the other hand, the bike can be parked right next to the bank, so there's no need of anyone to stay with it. It's true that in high-crime areas, it might be better to lock the bike with a chain, but no smart bank robber picks a bank in a high-crime district because those banks are going to have armed guards; thus, it shouldn't be necessary to lock the bike.

3) Then if you do use a getaway car, you are much more likely to be caught in traffic. You can't make a fast getaway when traffic is deadlocked, and traffic deadlocks or moves at a crawl much of the time, in spite of auto ads to the contrary. There's nothing worse than having the police right on your tail and to run into a jammed intersection. Sitting in stalled traffic is not good for your health either, as all those vehicles have their engines running, and the pollution is terrific. You may think that rolling up the windows would help, but studies measuring pollution inside the car show that it does not. In the movies, the criminal always finds a alleyway that can be used instead of the main street, but in real life, the alleyways are more likely to be blocked than are the streets. But on a bicycle, traffic congestion is no trouble. You can easily slip between stalled cars and be on your way. A blocked alleyway is not blocked to a person riding a bicycle.

4) If you escape in a getaway car, your vehicle is very likely to be spotted. This is very bad. Once they know that you're in a 1996 blue Toyota Crayola, every police officer is watching for that vehicle. They are likely to report that information on the radio or evening news, so any person who sees your vehicle could report it to the police. It's very likely that they will have a helicopter overhead which can follow your every movement. In addition, you will have to use the main roads to get out of town. This makes your path fairly predictable, which simplifies the job of the police. All they need to do is to put up a few roadblocks, and you are trapped. On the other hand, if you are spotted leaving on a bicycle, that information is much less helpful. Even if they convey the message that you are riding on a blue Trek 520, not many officers will be able to identify the vehicle. They will have to depend on a description of you instead, and it's very easy to wear a mask, wig, and trench coat during your robbery, which you can discard shortly after leaving the bank. Then, how are they going to spot you? Even if a police helicopter should spot you briefly from above, you can stay under the trees and thus be impossible for the helicopter to follow. You don't have to stay on the roads either. Leaving the bank on a bicycle, you can ride down an alleyway, cross a street, cut through a yard, get on the bikepath, cut across through the woods, and travel out of town on the railroad right-of-way. How can they stop you with roadblocks then?

5) Although never mentioned in the police reports, bank robbers have health problems caused by the high stress of the crime. When you go into the bank for the purpose of robbing it, your blood pressure shoots way up. While you've got your gun trained on the bank teller, your heart is racing at high speeds. Then, after you run out and jump in the car, there is no way for your body to relieve that stress. You might try to get rid of it by speeding (see below), but that behavior is very likely to get you caught. Instead, you have to force yourself to act cool and calm when your body is desperately needing to get rid of that stress. However, if instead of using a getaway car, you jump on a bicycle, you can relieve your stress through brisk riding. Your stress will actually be helpful as it will give you the extra energy that you need for your escape. And no one is going to be upset by your speeding on your bicycle, so you are not likely to attract the police.

6) Escaping in a getaway car might involve high-speed chases. These are very bad. One possibility is that you might end up killing some pedestrian or motorist in a driving accident while making your escape. You would think that the prosecutor would be sympathetic, since your real purpose was escaping, and harming someone was an accident, but they never think that way. Instead, they count anyone accidentally killed as a deliberate homicide and add that to your sentence. It's an unfair world. Even worse, some police officer may get killed while trying to catch you. Then, they're going to brand you as a cop killer, and your life is going to be hell. No prison guard was ever kind to a cop killer. Finally, you may end up getting killed yourself, either because they riddled your car with bullets or because you lost control at 120 mph. Even if you are not killed but just end up in a hospital with your body full of bullets or your bones broken in a crash, you are not to be envied. Movies and TV programs to the contrary, very few criminals escape from a hospital. On the other hand, high-speed chases are impossible when traveling by bicycle. You do have to obey some traffic laws to avoid collisions, but your chances of killing someone else are very low. If somehow, you should lose control of your bike, you are less likely to be seriously injured yourself. Because you are traveling more slowly, the police are much less likely to get excited and to resort to gun fire. Riding a bike is a win-win situation.

7) At some point, you may have to abandon your vehicle. If this is a getaway car, they will find it very quickly. Then, they can quickly use the license plate and/or vehicle identification number to find out all about you. If you are using a stolen vehicle, they will examine if for clues. It used to be that you only had to wipe fingerprints, but nowadays, if they find a single hair, they can run a DNA analysis and thus prove that you were the person operating that car. Isn't it pretty obvious that 1) they are much less likely to discover an abandoned bicycle and even if they do, 2) bicycles don't have tags, and 3) they aren't going to find any hairs to analyze?

8) After abandoning your vehicle, you may have to flee on foot. Here, you are at a great disadvantage if you are used to traveling in motor vehicles all the time. You might be wearing the wrong kind of shoes and clothes for running on foot. Your heart, lungs, and muscles won't have the required ability to allow you to run long distances. Also, if you are badly winded, you are not going to be able to shot straight if you have to have a final gun battle. If you can't shot straight, your bullets are unlikely to scare the pursuing police officers. Even worse, with inaccurate firing, you may hit or even kill one of them, which makes you a cop killer again. On the other hand, if you prepare for your bank robbery by building up on a bicycle, you will be in great physical condition if you have to make a dash for it. You do, however, need to be sure that your bike shoes do not have cleats on the bottom that would interfere with running. Since you are in better condition, you are much less likely to be involved in a final gun battle, and are more likely (if such a battle happens) to shoot straight enough to hold the police off without having to hit anybody. Actually, I think the whole gun battle bit is a mistake anyway. Fire a gun, and everyone will know exactly where you are. It makes much better sense to simply outrun the police, who very likely aren't in very good physical condition, as they spend most of their time parked in motor vehicles breathing in the fumes or else sitting in diners drinking coffee and eating donuts, TV and the movies to the contrary again.

9) However, it may not be necessary or even desirable to abandon your vehicle, but then the vehicle itself can create a problem if the police are looking for it. You have to have a garage somewhere to keep it until it is no longer hot. Repainting a motor vehicle is a difficult job which takes several days, involves special equipment, and requires a high degree of skill. On the other hand, a bike can be stored within a small place inside of any building. Should it be necessary, a bike can be repainted within an day with just one or two cans of spray paint by someone who has never repainted a bike before.

10) Finally, when you are caught, the police will probably impound your motor vehicle and sell it at an auction to cover their expenses. Even if the police don't sell it, your kid brother will probably use it for a dragster, so it will be absolutely useless to you after you get out of jail. And if your kid brother doesn't use it, the engine block will probably seize up while you are gone, since the minimum sentence (if you don't use a gun) is at least five years. In spite of all this, if you still owe payments, they will be deducted from your very slender prison earnings. On the other hand, if you have a bicycle instead of a motor vehicle, the police are less likely to impound it, your kid brother is less likely to ruin it, and any remaining payments will be tiny in comparison. But best of all, five, ten, or even twenty years of storage while you are in the pen are not going to hurt your bicycle at all. All it will need is a new grease job and some new tires and tubes. In fact, the bike will be in a lot better condition than you.

Conclusion (For the General Public):

Therefore, all factors considered, it makes much better sense for bank robbers to use bicycles for getaways than motor vehicles. The robbers, the public, and even the police will benefit, although in different ways. The robbers will benefit due to reduced expense, and everyone will benefit from the reduced risk. There are some long-term benefits for the police if criminals use bikes instead of motor vehicles as well. Since police motor vehicles are poorly designed to catch someone fleeing on a bike, at least some of the police would have to get bicycles and build up on them as well, and this should be quite beneficial to their health. But what about the bank? I think the bank will benefit also, at least for those cases in which the bank robber has purchased his vehicle. If the robber gets away, the bank has lost an average of $257.83, not an important figure. However, if the robber is caught, he or she can no longer make payments on the motor vehicle, and so it must be sold by the bank at considerable loss. Of course, it is unlikely that the robber is holding up the bank where he has his car payment, but I am speaking in general. It's also very likely that the banks would benefit from robbers using bicycles in another way: the criminals don't have to rob a bank in order to afford a bicycle; thus there might be a reduction in the number of bank robberies.


FBI known suspects -- "Bicycle Bandit"  Evidently one bank robber figured this out before I even wrote the article.

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