The organizer of a June 12 naked bike ride protest is heading to federal court on a mission to overturn San Diego’s anti-nudity ordinance, saying it doesn’t protect her right to engage in free speech by going without clothes in public.
“We think it’s too broad and sweeps all nudity into one big category,” said attorney Mitch Wallis, who plans to file a request for an injunction Wednesday on behalf of organizer Sarah Bush. She and others want to use the ride — and the nudity — to promote biking and oppose the country’s dependence on oil.
The legal brief, which says the nudity ordinance violates the First Amendment, puts Bush’s case this way: “The Plaintiff Is Entitled To Strip Naked, Paint Her Body With Political Slogans and Protest Important Public Issues.”
The city isn’t cooperating, and appears ready to crack down on any bicyclists who ride naked (or, in the case of women, topless) on the World Naked Bike Ride’s 10-mile route through Hillcrest and downtown.
“The city’s position is that the law will be enforced,” said Gina Coburn, a spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office, in an e-mail. “The law does not prohibit bike riding. It does prohibit public nudity.”
San Diego’s World Naked Bike Ride is one of more than 25 nude protest rides scheduled around the world on June 12. In recent years, the rides have attracted crowds of dozens or hundreds in places like London, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle. Some of the bike-riding protesters wear clothes, while others have nothing on but shoes and sunscreen.