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Friday, June 20, 2008

Chief Kerlikowske on Naked Bike Riders

posted by on June 20 at 16:23 PM

J. Steve Mayo’s idea of a rollicking Gay Pride Parade is painting his nude body and cycling through the streets of downtown. That was cool with pride parade organizers, who queued about 20 bare bicyclists in the Body Pride Ride—headed by Mayo—in slot #81 for the parade on June 29. But Mayo got chills when he heard police might arrest him for violating Washington’s indecent exposure law, which bans nudity that is “likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.”

“A person naked and painted on a bike while cheering is not something sexual and it’s not patently offensive in any way,” says Mayo.

On Wednesday, pride parade attorney David Coffman informed Mayo that—according to one of the parade organizers—an SPD officer threatened to arrest the cyclists if there was a complaint, and the SPD would take parade organizer to the SPD’s West Precinct. Coffman tried to verify that claim, but SPD Deputy Chief Nicholas Metz told him that Seattle’s nude cycling-policy hadn’t changed. And he sent Coffman this letter from Chief Gil Kerlikowske:


Click here for a larger version.

In 1998, SPD officers arrested two naked cyclists in the Fremont Solstice Parade. However, the city attorney declined to prosecute the pair because they hadn’t violated the indecent exposure law cited in the chief’s letter. But this is the first time the naked pride riders, who have ridden in the Capitol Hill pride events, have threatened to shake their junk in the downtown parade.

Had an SPD officer claimed police would bust the cyclist and take a parade organizer to the police station? “It’s was a non-denial denial” from the deputy chief, says Coffman. When I called, police flatly denied any officer had made that threat.

How will it all shake out? “[Police] will not engage anyone who is publicly nude unless someone makes a complaint,” says Coffman. “That person who makes a complaint has to be present at event and be willing to testify in court,” he says. The nude contingent is still scheduled to ride in the parade, somewhere behind Governor Christine Gregoire, who is expected to wear clothes.

RSS icon Comments


As a citizen of Fremont, I happen to know that it's not against our cultural norms for nude cyclists, provided they're artistically painted and not lewd.

Not so sure about people walking around nude with cowboy hats tho. That's a bit much.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 20, 2008 4:40 PM

Why can't people spell "Fremont" correctly? It is not "Freemont." No more than the area north of 65th on the east side of I5 is "Wedgewood." (It's "Wedgwood," for those of you keeping score).

Yay for nekkid bikers!

Posted by brinsonian | June 20, 2008 5:22 PM


to all those who are shocked - GOD, your sex lives must be horrid

"Mama, what is that" ---- "Honey it is just a naked man" ----"Oh, will I be a naked man someday" --- "Yes honey, and look at that giant Pink Dog"

Posted by Andrezel | June 20, 2008 6:31 PM

No one who goes to the Fremont Solstice parade will faint like a Victorian schoolmarm having the vapors at the sight of the famed naked bicycle people. They are for some, in fact, the event's major attraction. Those who would be offended simply don't go, or at least don't complain, which is why there haven't been any arrests in the last 10 years. The same is, or should be, true of the Pride parade.

I wonder how many of the Fred Phelps fundie whack-jobs who show up to picket every Pride parade like clockwork year after year will secretly get wood at the sight of all those exposed penises...

Posted by RainMan | June 20, 2008 8:33 PM

I'm with #2. The chief of police should know how to spell the name of a well-known neighborhood in his jurisdiction, or at least have a secretary who does.

Posted by California | June 20, 2008 11:25 PM

just how lame that the correct others spelling folks are so far off the mark as to the topic of this post - - not cool and very square

grammar and spelling freaky queens go away, get a good enema once a week - - somewhere - - then, try againe to gette a liefff

Posted by dog meat taco | June 21, 2008 1:19 AM

Here's an interesting one: highly intelligent people are not always good spellers, but good spellers are nearly always highly intelligent people. Think it over.

Posted by Greg | June 21, 2008 9:44 AM
Well-medicated patricians, being necessary to the purity of a Free Mont, the right of the benign nudists to display and bear penises and breasts, shall not be fringed or unendowed.

- Burroughs' "Naked Scrunch"

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | June 21, 2008 5:39 PM

Ahh... that enema was great. Thanks @6.

And now, um, yeah, the g.d. police chief (what's his salary? his secretary's salary?) should know how to spell Fremont.

Now back to my liefff.

Posted by sara | June 22, 2008 11:00 AM

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