Behaviour & Legality

The World Naked Bike Ride is a peaceful protest that intends to get its messages across by generating public interest. We like other road users and spectators to be pleasantly surprised and take notice. We do not behave badly!

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Legality

The WNBR London organising collective has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police since 2005; they are fully aware of the nature of the protest and supportive of our right to make it. We have excellent relations with the police; some years they have assisted with traffic control and have had their own riders accompanying us (although they keep their uniforms on). In recent years they have left us to our own devices as we are considered a well run event that doesn’t require close monitoring.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no law against nudity in England and you should not be arrested simply for being nude on this protest. This was established in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Using nudity to intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress may be illegal, but, clearly, that is not the intention of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Details of the ride are registered with the police in advance. Don’t act offensively and you are unlikely to be arrested. Nevertheless, please do follow any instructions from the police – even if they don’t have the law on their side. Remember that there are also many other laws that apply to you – just as they do on any other day of the year. Visit our FAQ answer for more information.

For further detail in a format you can print out and carry, you might also like to see the Public Place Naturism legal guide published by British Naturism.

Nudity during the ride

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Part of the seemingly endless ride past Waterloo Station in 2015 – photo BAZ

This is a “naked bike ride” so clothing is optional. We advise riders to wear shoes for safety reasons. The protest has a carnival feel, so you are welcome to adorn yourself with colourful body paint and slogans, wear fancy dress, disguise yourself a bit (eg sunglasses, helmet, mask) or remain partially dressed – be as bare as you dare. You will probably want a rucksack, panniers or a bicycle basket to carry your belongings. There is no facility to take care of your belongings while you ride and you will finish in a different location than the start.

There is no law against nudity in Britain, but please don’t exercise your right to nudity in London before the ride or spend an unnecessarily long time dressing at the end as it will impact on our ability to make arrangements with police and get cooperation from the authorities in future years. Feel free to undress in the UK at any other time of the year, as this will not have any impact on the WNBR.

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Even more of the ride at Waterloo – photo BAZ

Many passers by and photographers who know about the event WILL turn up and take photographs before the ride begins. With no budget and no ability to erect any sort of barriers, the start is very difficult for us to control. There will be lots of people there with cameras and there isn’t much we can do about it.

If you are uncomfortable getting undressed with people around remember that you only need to get undressed just before the ride starts. If you wear clothes that can be quickly removed, you could leave the start dressed, pull over, remove your clothes and rejoin the ride.

Traffic and congestion WILL cause the protest to stop for several minutes at various points throughout the route. If you don’t like the idea of being photographed while sitting at a red light, bring something you can cover up with quickly and easily put on and take off.

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PA Equipment

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We love to hear all the sound systems – please do bring them! Just be aware that the use of PA equipment or amplification within the Serious and Organised Crime Police Act (SOCPA) zone should be avoided, as it is not legal.

That means you should turn off any sound amplification for the sections of ride along Whitehall, Parliament Square, Westminster Bridge and York Road.

Health & safety

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Footwear is required for safety

Just like any other day, there will be thousands of bicycles, lorries, vans, taxis, cars, motorbikes and pedestrians using the streets of London. WNBR liaises with the police and other authorities to help the ride run smoothly, be we cannot be there at your side to make sure you are safe. You need to take care of your own health and safety if you are riding with us. So, like any other day of the year, we cannot guarantee your safety and we cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any mishaps that happen while you are riding through London.

Here is some guidance.

  • Footwear is recommended in order to allow riders to come to a safe emergency stop.
  • Helmets are not compulsory. We advise you to consider the evidence on cycling safety and helmets, then take your own decision on whether to wear a helmet or not.
  • Bicycles are to be ridden in a manner appropriate for use on the road.
  • Bicycles should be road legal and in a safe condition.
  • All riders should be seated on appropriate seats in line with The Highway Code. Don’t take passengers on luggage racks or handlebars.
  • You should obey the rules of the road.
  • In recent years the police have trusted us to conduct the ride without an escort – but that means we have no powers to hold up traffic or jump traffic lights etc.
  • Where it is helpful and safe to do so, marshals or experienced participants may temporarily hold up traffic to ensure the safe passage of the riders.
  • Owing to safety concerns, runners are no longer permitted in the World Naked Bike Ride in London.
  • WNBR London cannot ensure or take accountability for your safety on the roads – so please ride safely!

Children

Some families with children take part in the ride. We believe this is solely a matter for parental discretion as we are not in a position to say who can ride a bike on the streets of London. Our mission, messages and activities are not aimed at children, although all people stand to benefit from healthier, safer lifestyles, attitudes, behaviours and environment.

It is a popular, peaceful, legal, public protest, but, clearly, some children might find the traffic, noise, crowds, nudity and protesting disconcerting, so parental guidance is advised to ensure the beneficial intent of the ride is understood and well received.

We do offer some common-sense advice:

  • The parent or guardian should accompany the child at all times.
  • The health and safety of a child must be a priority for the parent or guardian.
  • Bicycles should have proper safe seating and be ridden in a safe manner.
  • Children with their own bicycles need to be sufficiently proficient for the streets of London.
  • Children should be properly dressed (but you might wish to allow them fancy dress or bodypaint to join in the fun).
  • Anyone on the ride might get caught in a photograph, but watch out for inappropriate photography.

Tower Hill group crossing Southwark Bridge

Weather

We’ve mostly had good weather at each of the UK rides so far, indeed stunning hot sunshine several times – don’t forget the sunblock. The ride will not be cancelled in the event of rain, but it just might be shortened. If so, follow the marshals’ instructions.

Skin is more waterproof than clothing, but bring warm dry clothes to change into after the ride, and keep them dry. A large, thin plastic bag (such as you get from your dry cleaner) could be an effective protection if you want to seem naked in the rain. Make sure you have something waterproof to put your valuables in.

Apply sun tan lotion or your motto might become semi-permanent!

For a five-day weather forecast, visit one of Met OfficeMetCheck or BBC Weather (and choose day).

The event will take place whatever the weather – please come prepared for rain, cold or blazing heat!

chris