I hope I don’t ever see my good friend Marc Randaza riding naked on his bicycle, even if he can do it protected by the First Amendment. He has a great story about this topic on his Blog the Legal Satyricon. Read it here.
Naked Bike Ride Protected by the First Amendment
You know you’d love to see me riding down your street nude on a 10-speed… in fact, I’m doing it right now!
I think the outcome of this case had more to do with the judge than first amendment rights. First the case is in Oregon which as most of us know has a differnt view on the world and does help to challenge the status quo. Second the judge, doesn’t seem to be a stuffy sort of guy. His biography posted on the Multnomah County’s web site states “During off-work hours, Judge LaBarre enjoys music and backpacking. He taught himself to play guitar and banjo during summer work as a fire lookout on a US Forest Service lookout tower.” It sure seems that this judge is able to balance his job and the realities of the world. I wonder how some of his friends from law school feel. They may know details about Judge LaBarre that have been kept secret for lots of years.
On Marc Randaza’s blog, someone left a response saying, “it’s a pretty tenuous connection between ‘I hate the Iraq War’ and ‘Let’s ride bicycles naked.’ As in, no connection at all.” I have to agree with this comment. I can understand the riding bikes part of the protest (let’s all “go green” and forget about the oil in Iraq), but why does everyone have to be naked? Is it an attempt to “be free” and connect with nature? Or is it simply a unique way to get noticed by the public and the media? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech and expression; I just don’t quite understand this one. But maybe I’m just naive.
The same holds true for the ruling in Michael “Bobby” Hammond’s case; I’m happy that the Judge respects freedom of speech and expression, but, again, I don’t quite understand this desire to ride bikes naked. Is there something I’m missing?
I see nothing wrong with nudity in protest as long as there is actually a point to being naked. In this case symbolic political speech was used. To have the courage to prove a point as bold as this is inspiring in many ways. It’s easy to see why its supportive population grows each year.
To answer the question from someone elses comment about the connection between riding bikes and riding bikes naked surprisingly is supported with a lot of different aspects: people in support of bikes rather the car culture, the fight for independency from foreign oils, reducing air pollution, the war in Iraq and lastly, nudity shows human vulnerability. A least that is what the protesters are trying to show through the freedom of symbolic speech! It’s exciting to see the people protesting for their beliefs so actively.
The fact the guy had participated in the sanctioned Naked Bike Ride through Portland seems to give him the right to express his opinion and so riding naked again, seems fair and just.
It seems like Portland’s setting the legal stage for itself to become a nudist colony. I am behind the cyclists’ cause all the way Until the nude part. It does seem like quiet the stretch. After looking at the World Naked bike ride site, it seems that the nudity is somehow supposed to illustrate exactly how vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians bodies are to the automobile. Like I said I think it is a stretch. I think probably just as many people are attracted doing the ride because of the gimmick of it being in the nude than they are attracted by the actual causes that the ride champions. For better or for worse though I think it is remarkable that cases like this are being decided in favor of the nudist riders, even though I disagree with nudity being an imperative part of their message. It is interesting to note how world nude bike day went down in this state http://denver.yourhub.com/Boulder/Stories/News/Crime/Story~96974.aspx.
[…] but he does wish that we lawyers were a little more knowledgeable about sex. Andy Contiguglia doesn’t mention sex, but he read somewhere that naked bike riding is First Amendment protected […]
Symbolic political speech??? It looks like he got the attention he was looking for. Good for him.