Is the Naked Bike Ride legal? Nude cycle protest returns to London this weekend

Cyclists near Hyde Park, central London (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Cyclists near Hyde Park, central London (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Nudists will be hopping on their bike saddles this weekend to wheel their way around the streets of London on June 10.

Environmental protesters will bare all as they are set to parade through the capital to demonstrate against car culture and oil dependency.

In previous years, cyclists have been spotted riding with slogans like ‘Burn Fat Not Oil’, ‘Less Gas More Ass’, or ‘Energy Is Renude’ painted on their backs.

There are often volunteer body painters at the starting points to help participants with their chosen slogans.

Although full nudity is optional, with some people cycling in their underwear for modesty or comfort reasons, many people will strip off entirely to make a bare-faced statement.

Organisers remind participants on their website not to disrobe before the start of the ride.

But is the head-turning event legal? Here’s all you need to know:

What is the Naked Bike Ride?

It is a worldwide event which will happen in London and other major cities around the world.

Organisers plan the annual event, which has been running since 2004, and say they do so to campaign for a “cleaner environment, safer roads, healthier lifestyles and better attitudes”.

The ride is used to raise awareness about issues affecting the world. Those involved say being naked demonstrates their vulnerability while also protesting against car culture.

Participants also want to:

  • curb car culture

  • obtain real rights for cyclists

  • demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists on city streets

  • celebrate body freedom

Organisers say: “It is a popular, peaceful, legal, public protest on the streets of London but parental guidance is advised to ensure the beneficial intent of the ride is understood and well received.”

Is the event legal?

In short, absolutely yes.

Although you would imagine being naked in front of others in a public space to be an illegal act, it actually is not.

According to UK law, there is no blanket ban on public nudity in England.

In fact, nudity is only illegal if it is “intentionally used to harass, alarm or cause distress” but if you are not, then being completely starkers is perfectly legal.

As the London Naked Bike Ride is a nude protest, it isn’t illegal and organisers say they pride themselves on working closely with police before, during and after the ride.

Organisers do encourage people to only remain nude for the duration of the ride and not to strip off until they are mounting their bikes.

How can I watch or get involved?

The World Naked Bike Ride London 2023 is free to join and winds its way through Clapham Junction, Croydon, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Tower Hill.

You can join at any starting point along the route.

Here’s a rundown of every starting point:

  • Clapham Junction 2.30pm assembly; 2.45pm departure; Grant Road SW11 2NU

  • Croydon 11am assembly; 1pm departure; 233 Shirley Church Rd CR0 5AB

  • Deptford noon assembly; 2pm departure; Matchstick Piehouse SE8 5HD

  • Kew Bridge 1.15 pm assembly; 1.30pm departure; north end of Kew Bridge W4 3NQ

  • Regents Park 2.35pm assembly; 2.50 pm departure; Outer Circle, near NW1 4NA

  • Tower Hill 1.45pm assembly; 2.45pm departure; Trinity Square Gardens EC3N 4DJ

  • Victoria Park 11am assembly; 1.30pm departure; near Bonner Gate / Dogs of Alcibiades E2 9JW

  • Wellington Arch 2.15pm assembly; 2.45pm departure; Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner W1J 7JZ

  • Accessible Start Point 3.45pm assembly; 4pm departure; near Waterloo, Belvedere Rd SE1 7GQ

For more information on how to get involved or watch, visit the official site here.