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Police investigating daredevil videos of 'urban climber' in Vancouver

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A social media daredevil has been doing death-defying stunts in the Vancouver area, prompting safety concerns and at least one police investigation.

The thrill-seeker describes himself online as a 23-year-old "train surfer and urban climber" who is "home-free," as opposed to homeless.

Since December 2023, the daredevil has posted several pictures and videos of himself in precarious positions, including one in which he claims to be urinating off a tower on the Lions Gate Bridge.

In another video, posted last week on Instagram, he can be seen standing between two SkyTrain cars that are hurtling toward Stadium-Chinatown Station in Vancouver.

Many online commenters have cheered the stunts on – something that can encourage these kinds of daredevils to put themselves in even greater danger, according to Matthew Johnson, a social media expert with MediaSmarts.

"It's definitely possible that some of the features of the platform, including likes and interactions with commenters are pushing people to take more risks," said Johnson.

Several of the posts show the man engaged in potentially criminal activity.

"The kind of behavior that's depicted on these videos is certainly not something that's advisable from any perspective whatsoever," said Sarah Leamon, a Vancouver-based criminal lawyer. "And certainly not from a legal perspective."

When one commenter threatened to send his picture to police, the poster wrote: "Make sure they are good photos, can't have an ugly mugshot."

According to Metro Vancouver Transit Police, the SkyTrain stunt is already under investigation.

A social media daredevil rides on the outside of a SkyTrain heading towards downtown Vancouver. (Instagram)

In a statement, Const. Travis Blair described the behaviour as "extremely dangerous," with the potential to result in "life-long injuries or death."

"Riding, standing or holding onto the exterior of a transit vehicle is an offence punishable by fine or charges," Blair told CTV News.

The Vancouver Police Department, which has jurisdiction over some incidents on the Lions Gate Bridge, said it is also reviewing the daredevil's videos.

"Videos like these are sometimes posted on social media by people trying to gain attention and build their online following," Sgt. Steve Addison said in an email, adding that authorities are concerned about drawing attention to the account because it could "encourage copy-cat behaviour."

The social media platform's terms of service do not explicitly prohibit dangerous behaviour, but they do ban criminal activity, meaning the poster is likely in violation of those terms.

"This person clearly is trespassing and violating a number of other laws so when we see content like this online, we do have the option to report it," said Johnson.

CTV News has been unable to reach the person behind the account for comment. 

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