A couple of years ago, I anted up £10 to help support the planners of that year’s World Naked Bike Ride, at least partially motivated by curiosity as to how London police dealt with dozens of unclothed cyclists. The controlling legal authority, apparently, is the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, and recently Her Majesty’s Government decided to provide some guidance [pdf] in such matters. An excerpt:
At the time that the Sexual Offences Act was debated in Parliament, care was taken to word the legislation in a way specifically intended to avoid it impinging on the rights and activities of naturists. Consequently, the Act requires that a sexual offence dimension would need to be involved for public nudity to constitute the offence of exposure under section 66 of the Act. This would involve deliberately exposing genitalia towards another person with the intention ofthem seeing and being caused alarm or distress (“flashing” or sometimes referred to as “indecent” exposure).
The common law offence of outraging public decency applies when a person’s behaviour is so lewd, obscene or disgusting as to shock a reasonable person. This has a high threshold in law that simple public nudity would not reach.
Conclusion: Get on your bikes and ride!