Sunday, June 15, 2008

People in London yesterday were surprised to see hundreds of cyclists in varying degrees of nakedness riding through the city as the annual London Naked Bike Ride took place, one of many other rides as part of World Naked Bike Ride. The ride was intended to protest against oil dependency and celebrate cycling and the human body.

The ride took a route past many well known landmarks in London, starting from Hyde Park Corner then going via locations including Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Covent Garden, Oxford Street, the United States embassy and returning to Hyde Park Corner, finishing at the Wellington Arch.

Described as a clothing-optional bike ride, participants ranged from being fully clothed to full nudity and were of a broad range of ages and ethnicities. Nudity is encouraged but is not mandatory.

Whilst public nudity in itself isn’t illegal in the United Kingdom, indecent exposure is an offence where the person exposes their genitals and “intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress” and as such participants were unlikely to be at risk of arrest. Police officers riding bikes worked to facilitate the passage of the cyclists through the city whilst minimising disruption.

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