Sunday, June 22, 2008

Seattle's Naked Bike Riders!

As we all know, being naked in public is generally illegal - but there are some unofficial exceptions.

One exception: body art. When a person is naked, but you can't tell because their bodies have been completely covered with body art, then are they still technically naked?

Or if the body art is beautiful, or the body itself is beautiful, then can you say it should be allowed to be viewed for the purpose of the art?

So how do YOU feel about being naked? In public? Would you do it if you had a chance to be a piece of art, show expressive freedom, or be part of an entire movement?

How about this: would you be naked on a bike (doesn't this seem uncomfortable)?

Would you be naked on a bike, covered in body art, riding with hundreds of other naked painted riders, in front of thousands of people??

This is the case for the 150-plus bikers in the annual Naked Bike Riders of Fremont, a regular unofficial part of the Summer Solstice Parade and events in Seattle. Ten streakers started this tradition in the early '90s, which quickly became a largely controversial group effort to evade the police (on bikes, with some body paint), and eventually led to a well-accepted art form and widely attended and publicized event.

Highlights from this year:

1) The family that painted themselves as The Incredibles (kids in tow behind)
2) The painted young man two neighborhoods away that was caught asking for directions (he had minimal clothing on at that point which I'm sure was removed later)
3) The stray naked biker we saw up close - totally oblivious to the fact that she was naked by herself in a crowd of thousands (and the crowd, for the most part, was oblivious to her)

4. The effort people made to get good seats for the show - people climbed trees, statues, planters, and even hung their own hammock to get above the crowd.


Peggy said...

That's a good way to inhibit people from borrowing your bike!

Uncle KT said...

What in interesting/fun tradition.

Fixen Vixen said...

Doesn't sweat streak the paint? I would think it would be better to watch the beginning of the race rather than the end!

J-Funk said...

peggy - haha, good point!
kt - it is! and it's so neat to be able to go see it!
Fixen - we were wondering the same thing. I think they use special hard-core paint that doesn't tend to streak because I never saw anyone with streaks and they were riding around for quite a while.

nexus said...

You start out saying being naked is illegal. That is not so. Intentionally being obscene is where WA law steps into the picture. Please see the US Supreme Court's "Miller Test" for what clearly defines obscenity in the USA.

Just being naked is not unlawful in Seattle, King Co., or this state. There are no laws which prohibit puplic nudity in Seattle (or toplessness for that matter).

The actions undertaken while naked are where indecent exposure laws apply. Walking or cycling are not illegal actions. Behavior of a sexual nature (aroused(male?) intending to arouse or insult(?), flashing, peeping, etc...) could enter the realm of indecent exposure laws.

If someone is offended at the sight of a naked human, as sad as that may be, they do not have the right to be protected from being offended at this sight. If anything obscene is going on (see Miller Test) then the laws apply to protect from exposure to such actions.

See the famous photography by Spencer Tunick of 100's of naked people. How on Earth could anyone consider that to be sexual or obscene? No paint, just the human form.

Anonymous said...

wonderful demi
mind blowing