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Nudity in Seattle is not illegal

It's not against the law to merely ride naked in Seattle, especially when it's expected. (AP file photo)

The Solstice Parade is this weekend and if you’re new to Seattle, it means you’ll see a lot of naked people riding bikes down Fremont Place. It’s how we Seattleites celebrate the longest day of the year (even though that falls on Wednesday).

How do we get away with nude bike riding? Well, it’s not actually illegal to be buck naked in the Emerald City.

“Being nude all by itself is not a law violation and nor would you expect to be investigated by the police,” Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb explained. “It’s the conduct that someone might perform while nude that would result in a criminal investigation.”

For instance, flashing someone will get you arrested for indecent exposure. Touching yourself inappropriately while nude will get you arrested. Being naked while getting from point A to point B will not.

A great example involves KIRO Radio’s own Zak Burns. He tackled a naked man on a sidewalk in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood this week. His wife noticed the man was without clothing (legal) while touching himself (illegal). It caused her reasonable alarm, and so the man was arrested.

Zak’s story: I tackled a naked man on Eastlake

The Fremont Solstice Parade is acceptable because there’s an expectation of nudity.

“Hey, this is Seattle, right?” Whitcomb reminded us.

Police officers must consider the totality of the circumstances, according to Whitcomb. They put all of the facts together to create a general impression.

“There are people who are offended by nudity,” he said. “But what we’ll say is, ‘What exactly about that nudity caused you concern?’”

He noted that just because nudity is legal, it doesn’t mean you can ignore an establishment’s rules. Enjoying the symphony while in your birthday suit is probably not a good idea.

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