I want to take part, but I’m scared of being on TV or identified in public!
Ride anonymously by wearing sunglasses, body paint, wigs, masks, outfits (who said you had to be naked?), or weird and wonderful paraphernalia. Disguise yourself in your own creative way, and incorporate messages for your cause while you do it! (Read here for some ideas.)
Is WNBR legal?
In NSW there are two offences that have been applied to instances of public nudity by the police:
1. Obscene Exposure: “A person shall not, in or within view from a public place or a school, wilfully and obscenely expose his or her person.”
2. Offensive Conduct: “A person must not conduct himself or herself in an offensive manner in or near, or within view or hearing from, a public place or a school.”
These offences actually depend on contemporary community standards, wherein the past does not legally mean what the present or future situation is around these offences.
This means that if culture or community attitudes around a certain context of public nudity has progressed beyond past prudish mores, and are now only minority views on the matter, they no longer hold legal basis.
This means the police cannot continue enforcing based on past cultural mores but must move with community standards.
There is a lot more we could say, but this is not a legal dossier or actual legal advice.
For the many reasons of context such as that it comprises a large number of people diverse states of dress in a non-sexual manner with a peaceful community spirit, and that it is a special event specifically for the purpose of raising awareness for a cause, WNBR’s nudity is not be viewed by the reasonable person to be criminally obscene or criminally offensive.
Speaking to ‘obscene’, the Western Australian Law Reform Commission stated in 1992:
“As with the existing provision, nudity in itself is not obscene. Nor is wilful exposure of the genitals. It is the circumstances in which the exposure takes place and before whom that may render the exposure obscene.”
NSW case law has laid out a very high bar for what – depending on the contemporary standards of the day – constitutes ‘offensive’:
“For behaviour to be offensive, it must be likely to provoke reactions such as anger, disgust, resentment or outrage“
Anyone who think WNBR’s nudity does any of this is simply not observing reality. WNBR provokes surprise, disbelief, and even shock, followed by smiles, laughs, cheers, attention, and engagement that is mostly positive.
The day the police accept reality in front of their eyes is the day we no longer have to point this out.
Also, in 2017 case law Danny Lim v Regina:
“Judge Scotting found that even if Mr Lim’s conduct was found to be offensive, an argument could be made that his right to freedom of political communication formed a “reasonable excuse”.
If you are still worried, you can wear something during the ride. But this is the legal situation, you’re welcome.
Note: you are responsible for how you conduct yourself in every way during our peaceful public protest. Sexual or anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and we will immediately call the police if you conduct yourself in such a manner.
Fun fact: “Obscene exposure” in NSW never historically applied to the female breast, no matter the context.
Is WNBR family-friendly?
YES. Social nudity has nothing to do with being family-friendly or not. The culture of naturism demonstrates that kids are actually healthier when they grow up seeing what the human body looks like. So let’s talk about the NSW rules around cycling. There are no restrictions on children riding their bicycle on the road, and normal cycling road rules apply to them. Use your discretion about how you involve your children in our community ride. Our ride marshals will make sure the ride stays in a cohesive group, so that no one will be stranded at any point during the ride.
If planned well, bringing your children to World Naked Bike Ride Sydney may be an incredibly positive experience for them – especially in regards to body positivity. What message do you want to give to your children? You decide.