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!
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.
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. You can also read the guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the College of Policing.
Nudity during the ride
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 encouraged 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.
Many passers by and photographers who know about the event will take photographs before the ride begins and try to find us along the route. There will be lots of people with cameras and phones. However unwelcome they are, in most cases they are not breaking the law and have a right to be in the same public places that we are. We try hard to minimise the problem and expect all participants to be ready to come to the aid of anyone who needs help, although you must keep within the law.
If you are uncomfortable getting undressed with people around, remember that you only need to get undressed just when the ride starts and you should get dressed as soon as you reach the finish. If you wear clothes that can be quickly removed, you could leave the start dressed, pull over, remove your clothes and rejoin the ride. Likewise you can slip some clothing on just before the finish. Please dress and disperse as soon as you reach the finish unless you enjoy the attention of photographers and spectators!
Traffic, congestion, rest breaks and the need to re-group mean the protest will stop for several minutes at various points throughout the route. If you don’t like the idea of being photographed while waiting, bring something you can cover up with quickly and easily put on and take off.
You can read more about our photography policy here.
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
Just like any other day, there will be thousands of bicycles, buses, 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.
Joggers, skaters, boarders and scooters
We disapprove of jogging, roller skating, skate boarding and scooters on the ride for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s not cycling and this is a campaign that promotes cycling. Secondly, because people travelling in those ways are much more visibly exposed to spectators, so are far more likely to generate complaints and police intervention. This could impact on the trust we have with the authorities. It is also still illegal to use an escooter except if it is from an official hire trial.
Having said that, we cannot control who uses which type of vehicle on the public streets of London, so you will probably see some of these riding along with us.
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.
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.
The event will take place whatever the weather – please come prepared for rain, cold or blazing heat!