We ask police, can I be naked in Seattle?

Aug 4, 2014, 10:29 PM | Updated: Aug 5, 2014, 5:43 am
Simply riding your bike while nude won't get you in trouble. It's when you add an offensive behavior that's considered indecent exposure. (MyNorthwest.com photo)
(MyNorthwest.com photo)

We recently spotted a person riding up the street topless and saw a video of naked bike riders at Westlake, which got us thinking – is that even legal in Seattle?

There are no nudity laws in the city, according to Seattle police.

“We have indecent exposure laws and indecent exposure is behavior that will cause a reasonable person fear, alarm, or concern that they can then articulate to police,” said Sergeant Sean Whitcomb.

“A woman riding through a neighborhood topless is probably not going to cause that much alarm,” he said.

It’s completely different if a person is naked from the waist down at a playground full of children.

“You’re doing that to cause a reaction. Not only would it terrify the kids, it’s what we would call a blatant violation of law,” Whitcomb said.

The Fremont Solstice Parade is acceptable because there’s an expectation of nudity. If you remove the parade and a naked man is simply riding to work, Whitcomb said you’re still probably not going to see enforcement.

“It’s just nudity and that person is moving from point A to point B…so there’s not very much time to be alarmed.”

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

For example, a nude person riding past a school every day isn’t necessarily a problem, even if a teacher complains. But if that person is circling the block several times, intentionally slowing down, timing the ride for recess, or adjusting oneself to provide a better view, an officer might respond.

“The elements of indecent exposure mean nudity plus,” said Whitcomb. “Nudity alone is typically not going to do much.”

While this explanation might have you considering a liberating jog tomorrow, Whitcomb warns the curious to just be aware of the context because people will definitely think something of it.

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

If you are someone who is offended, the good news is fall and winter are just around the corner.

Local News

Nate Connors

Weekend Traffic Report: NCAA March Madness comes to town

NCAA Women's Basketball is heading to Climate Pledge Arena Friday through Monday. Friday's game starts at 4:30 p.m.
1 day ago
Bill Kaczaraba

Starbucks CEO Narasimhan plans to ‘reinvent’ the company

Starbucks new CEO Laxman Narasimhan held his first shareholder meeting Thursday and offered proposals to reinvent the company.
1 day ago
(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Aurora borealis captured in night skies across Washington

Although the aurora was hidden behind clouds, parts of the region were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the display.
1 day ago
Frank Sumrall

10-month-old girl found after being abducted near Des Moines area

Washington State Patrol (WSP) searched and found a 10-month-old Gihanna Smith, who was allegedly abducted.
1 day ago
Frank Sumrall

Remo Borracchini, owner of beloved 100-year-old bakery, dies at 92

But, like many other local community establishments, Borracchini’s had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 day ago
seattle humane...
Nicole Jennings

Pet surrenders up at Seattle Humane, not likely to slow down

The number of pets being surrendered at Seattle Humane is on the rise. Many people can no longer afford to keep their dogs and cats.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
We ask police, can I be naked in Seattle?