Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Naked cyclists ride through Portsmouth despite protests

A group of naked cyclists have ridden through Portsmouth despite protests.

The World Naked Bike Ride, a nationwide protest over car culture and oil dependency, was held in the city for the first time.

Almost 1,000 people signed a petition to try to stop the event, which they described as "indecent" and "offensive".

Naked bike ride organiser Ian Henden said it was "perfectly legal". Police were on duty for the event.

The bike ride had been organised by environmental campaigners as part of World Naked Bike Ride, in which cyclists wore little or no clothes in participating towns and cities across the world.

'No distress'

The route, which was about six miles (9.6km), started at the Canoe Lake, and went through old Portsmouth, the city centre and then back through Southsea.

Section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to expose their genitals where they intend that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

However, case law has established that the offence would not apply to a naturist who intentionally exposes their genitals without the intention to cause alarm or distress. Nudity in itself is not an offence.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said the force had been in contact with the event organisers who said they did "not intend to cause alarm or distress".

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