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Nearly one year later, naked biking case in Vancouver remains unresolved

Posted by on May 28th, 2010 at 9:12 am

Aloha Todd and Low Bar Tour - Pedalpalooza-27
Matthew Vilhauer (nude) was arrested on
June 19th 2009, a few hours after this photo
was taken.
(Photo: Not sure but it was my camera)

It’s been nearly a year since Matthew Vilhauer was arrested for indecent exposure for riding his bike naked in downtown Vancouver (Washington). He hoped yesterday’s jury trial would be the end of a roller-coaster legal journey, but after a 5 to 1 vote of not guilty, the case remains unresolved.

On June 19th 2009, Vilhauer and several friends from Portland (including myself) and Vancouver met for a ride (which I recapped here) to tour some of that city’s night spots. The occasion was to toast our friend Todd Boulanger, who was leaving his job as a transportation planner with the City of Vancouver. In a story about the trial published yesterday, The Columbian newspaper referred to the ride as “an exuberant, alcohol-fueled late-night cycling celebration.”

Vilhauer felt the need to remove his clothes about half-way through the evening (he was the only one to do so, but no one really seemed to mind — see photo above). At around midnight, while riding on Main Street, Vilhauer — wearing nothing but his helmet — was approached by Vancouver police, then handcuffed and arrested.

Vilhauer faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

After nearly a year of postponed court dates and other legal wranglings, the case finally went to trial yesterday. Here’s how the arguments played out, according to The Columbian:

“George argued to jurors that, “This is not Portland,” while defense attorney Vitasovic argued that nakedness by itself isn’t a crime, and that Vilhauer didn’t have any intent to offend anyone.

“He got drunk, he got naked, he got on his bike,” Vitasovic said.

“Not Portland” indeed. On this side of the river, biking naked is a common and accepted occurrence. Our World Naked Bike Ride had 5,000 people last year and organizers worked hand-in-hand with the Police Bureau to make it happen (the officer who organizers worked closely with, Mike Reese, is now Chief of Police). In November 2008, a Multnomah County judge dismissed charges against a man arrested for biking naked, saying it was a form of free speech and that it’s a “well-established tradition” in Portland.

“I am requesting City Council to endorse the mere act of nude bike riding as not being an obscene and indecent act by itself.”
— Marcus Griffith, citizen activist, in an email to Mayor and City Council.

Since being naked in public is not a crime, Vilhauer’s case hinges on whether or not his nakedness would have to be seen as obscene and be directed at passersby. The police say Vilhauer was exposing himself to a group of teenage girls, but in his defense, Vilhauer maintains they just happened to be waiting in line at a club nearby when he was arrested.

With the deadlocked jury ruling yesterday, the prosecutor could seek another trial.

With the naked bike riding month of June fast approaching, one Vancouver resident wants the Mayor and City Council to take a proactive stance on naked biking so this type of long, drawn-out legal situation doesn’t have to happen again.

Marcus Griffith is shocked that the City hasn’t dismissed the charges and sent an email to the Mayor and members of Council last night calling on them to take up the matter at an upcoming meeting. From his email:

“I am requesting City Council to endorse the mere act of nude bike riding as not being an obscene and indecent act by itself. I am further requesting charges not to be refiled against Vilhauer nor any cyclists for engaging in future nude cycling in Vancouver.”

Griffith says if the City doesn’t address this issue to his satisfaction, he’s planning to mobilize “a few hundreds nude cyclists” at the next City Hall meeting, which he says would “help illustrate the value of nudity as a First Amendment form of protest.”

Stay tuned to learn how this all turns out.

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Comments
  • Marcus Griffith May 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Nude Cycling:
    1) Is not prohibited by Washington law
    2) Does not by itself meet the standard for indecent exposure in Washington
    3) Is protected speech
    4) Does not appear to offend the Vancouver community.

    Seattle, Olymbia and Bellingham are three cities in Washington that host their own World Naked Bike Rides. In addition, Vancouver has its fair share of participants in Portland’s ride as well as mini-rides in Vancouver.

    Pressing charges against someone for merely being nude on a bike is absurd. Law enforcement resources are better used addressing true criminals, not community advocates exercising a constitution right to protest.

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  • Anonymous May 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Was he using a light?

    Was he operating a vehicle on the roads while over the legal limit?

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  • matthew vilhauer May 28, 2010 at 9:34 am

    marcus-the case is not over. you are not doing my any favors by stirring the pot. wtf? say what you want when it’s over and resolved, i don’t consider your actions to help my case.

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  • Marcus Griffith May 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Matthew: Didn’t realize my freedom of speech required your approval. With Naked-June coming upon, numerous Vancouver residents need the matter of public nudity resolved, least more people face poorly supported charges.

    Tongue in cheek, I will add, if you don’t want people talking about you being nude in public, than don’t be nude in public.

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  • matthew vilhauer May 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

    thank you marcus. as usual and always you’ve demonstrated your grasp on social nuances… a tenuous grasp at best.

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  • Brian E May 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Commenter #4,

    Your comments seem cold and uncaring. People should have more respect for each other.

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  • Aaronf May 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Oh boy.

    A bikeportland soap opera!

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  • Velophile in Exile May 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

    And to think that people were discussing how giving the finger to someone who just tried to intimidate or kill you was bad for peoples’ view of “the bicyclists.”

    I personally don’t give a damn about whether you wear clothes, and I think prosecuting this just shows these people have serious psychological issues around sexuality, probably because of their backwards religion.

    But, if you’re going to trot out the stupid argument about how one act of free expression (the finger) gives “the bicyclists a bad name,” then you’d better make that same argument here about this dumbass, because you damn well know this is going to piss off the idiot Christians.

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  • K'Tesh May 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Last night, on the way back to Beaverton, I was dressed in a single layer of cotton clothes when it started to rain. Somehow my clothes remained dry, but I didn’t… Naked cycling keeps people warm ;)

    Funny thing is, I went right past some of Beaverton’s finest, without so much as a second look. Thank Goodness I came to a complete stop at the intersection where we met!

    Oh, and my 1st Amendment statement?
    If British Petrolatum is Screwing the United States… shouldn’t they at least give us a kiss first?

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  • Juanita May 28, 2010 at 10:43 am

    How does the case affect the Pedalplooza rides in Vancouver?

    Why is he upset that people are talking about him being naked? Did he think no one would notice?

    With how badly we are getting screwed by BP, we better get a phone call in the morning and diamonds for our birthday.

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  • Spiffy May 28, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Marcus, obviously the cops know all about the 4 points you listed but I think this all hinges on those girls that were in proximity and that’s why it’s indecent exposure…

    I’m too lazy to look up the laws on it, but it seems like this is eventually going to lead to a Not Guilty… at least we can all hope so for the greater good…

    matthew, why are you mad at Marcus for posting a comment but not at Jonathan for posting an entire news article on the front page of a popular cycling site? don’t start acting like a guilty person who has something to hide… you were naked! you have nothing to hide from! relax and this will work itself out eventually…

    I can only hope that in my lifetime these stupid nudity laws will go away…

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  • Bjorn May 28, 2010 at 11:20 am

    #10 I would think it is pretty obvious that he is hoping that the DA will drop it at this point, since if it is refiled he will have to do things like paying a lawyer to defend him again. Lots of media “exposure” might antagonize the DA, as might large naked protests, so he would probably prefer that at a minimum people who want to make a big deal out of this leave his name out of it and don’t make it about him. That doesn’t seem like too much for someone who was out minding his own business clothes or no clothes to ask… Perhaps Marcus can get himself arrested and use that as a test case instead.

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  • Schrauf May 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

    #2, Washington is one of the few states you can legally ride a bicycle while drunk. So that would be a non issue.

    Maybe that’s why WA is rated above OR for bicycle friendliness… =)

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

    OK – not sure why this is being mentioned in relation to this blog entry but c’mon… BP screwing America?!

    I hope you all are kidding. We are screwing ourselves.
    It is Americans who are buying the big gas guzzling autos and they don’t run on happy thoughts.
    It is Americans that elect the officials but don’t hold them accountable.
    It is Americans that have no interest in policy or politics.
    It is Americans that opened the Gulf up to drilling and were (up until 6 weeks ago) supporting more off shore dilling.
    The British were not chanting “Drill, Baby Drill”, it was the U.S.

    This particular accident could have easily been owned by Chevron or Exxon and the outcome would be the same. Corrupt system with no oversight or accountability = disasterous results, whether it’s financial industry, petroleum industry, defense industry, you name it.

    Everyone wants to place the blame, Obama should do more, BP is to blame, the valve manufacturer, the platform owner.

    The truth that no one wants to own up to is that we are all to blame.

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  • JAT in Seattle May 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Schrauf at 13 – only sort of.

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/archives/144631.asp

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  • jim May 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I believe public drunkeness is still an offense even if your not riding a bike.

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  • Aaronf May 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    “He said shedding clothes is one way cyclists express the vulnerability they feel on the road, where they’re dwarfed by automobiles.”

    Haha

    So pious!

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  • Dabby May 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Marcus, Please respect Matthew’s wishes and keep your nose out of it.

    We have already had incidences of cyclists butting in in the wrong fashion, and helping to ruin it for the rest of us, ie: The VBC and the helmet issue.

    Let’s not make the same mistake again….

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  • Bacon Eater May 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    If the DA can get a jury to stick Matthew with the public indecency charge it would set a precedent in Vancouver that could be hard to overcome.

    Marcus was right to start a dialog with city officials. There is no love loss between Marcus and Matthew (messy break up, I guess) and that is likely why Vancouver’s bike advocates stayed out of it for so long, but Matthew’s case creates an opportunity for Vantucky conservatives to undo years of progress. Matthew is a decent artist, but lives in his mother’s basement and was way too drunk that night he was arrested. He is no Rosa Parks by any measure, but for better or worse, Vancouver’s cyclists are going to have to get involved before everyone loses the ability to bike naked.

    One idiot can hurt the entire movement.

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  • JE May 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    “Riders would do well to consider that a city trying to be cycling-friendly should have cyclists trying to be city-friendly.”

    From Critical Mass: A Critical Issue in Cycling Relations by Jim Gourley
    Bicycle Times issue 004

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  • Bjorn May 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    @15 From what I have heard that is probably overridden by this:

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.790

    Cops are supposed to offer you a ride if they think you are too drunk to be on your bike, since that is extra work it pretty much means they leave people alone.

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  • q'Tzal May 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    K’Tesh #9:
    Since we are paying to get screwed that makes BP the prostitute of this equation. You should know not to kiss them on the mouth.

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  • Bob_M May 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Nude male cyclist?

    No big thing

    :)

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  • Red Five May 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    wonderful. I hope he put a towel or something down on that bar stool. Anything for some attention.

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  • Perry May 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Not in my bar…

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  • brian May 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Not sure which is more ridiculous:
    1) riding your bike naked in a city.
    2) Being offended by somebody riding their bike naked.
    3) Prosecuting somebody for riding their bike naked.

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  • DressedMonkey May 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    So el nudist Matthew consents to an interview with the Columbian Newspaper and KATU news yesterday AND than turns around and tells everyone today they are butting into his business when they start talking about his interviews? WTF, sounds like he is “stirring the pot” and blaming everyone else for his stupidty.

    There needs to be some type of rally or meeting to support naked bike riding in Vancouver. I don’t care who got arrested, but the if Vancouver loses the ability to bike naked, it can easily creep to other cities in Washington.

    Vancouver cops have been pretty cool lately with cyclists. I am sure his intoxication had a lot to do with the decesion to arrest him.

    Cop shows up at the scence with a bunch of screaming underage girls and a naked middle drunk man a few feet away. What did he expect to happen? The officer asking for his autograph?

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  • ayresjk May 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    got it….new protest activity….Nude bike bar hop!

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  • Nicky May 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    nothing says cool like PBR, a Magna and bare skin cruising Hazel Dell Ave…

    In good news, we have someone teaching bike safety to kids.
    http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/may/28/this-is-their-first-driving-lesson-joe-greulich-vo/

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  • trail user May 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    You think skin rash on your knees or elbows sucks!

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  • Lisa May 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    So if Mr. Vilhauer decides to doff his clothing and mountain bike in Forest Park and he cycles past a bunch of runners who are appalled, shocked and feel harassed by his nakedness, would an obscenity charge stick?

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  • Nicky May 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Oregon vs Washington laws… As states, we are divided by the river that unites us.

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  • twilliam May 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    That picture above is an award winner. For what contest, I don’t know, but it’ll win, for sure! How he wasn’t kicked out instantly…

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  • Marcus Griffith May 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Link to an April 30, 2010 news coverage of a daytime naked ride in Seattle. Notice that of the thousands of bystanders, only a few (ie 1) was offended.

    It seems a much higher rate of people are offended by Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings and the infamous two-girls-one-cup video…Fluid standards are hard to nail down.

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  • Marcus Griffith May 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm
  • Red Five May 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Attention whore.

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  • Lester May 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    If naked guy is really hoping for little coverage of these events, I’ve got some bad news. It even made the news in Seattle – KIRO 7.

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  • matt picio May 28, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    matthew (#3) – Sorry, I agree with Marcus in this case. Freedom of speech, and he’s merely pointing out it doesn’t violate state law. In his first post he said nothing that relates to the specifcs of your case, or any other individual. Now if he starts speculating on your motives, or your behavior that night, that would be another matter entirely.

    Brian E (#5) – Marcus is being factual, and he has a valid point – however you behave in public, expect people to comment on it. Nothing cold about that, just simply factual. And frankly, Marcus has a right to express his opinion, as does matthew, you, and I.

    Bjorn (#12) – In which case it’s fairly likely Jonathan would run a follow-up story about matthew’s legal costs, and someone would take up a collection. One thing about Portland’s bike community, they really seem to cough up (time, money, resources) when someone is in need.

    Aaronf (#17) – That’s one of the official points of the World Naked Bike Ride.

    Dabby (#18) – Marcus isn’t out of line until he starts talking about case particulars. Come on, if this were a case about someone getting hit by a truck, and someone was spouting off on better licensing, truck safety equipment, and the right for that cyclist to be on the road, would you be saying “please keep your nose out of it”?

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  • Paul Tay May 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    If convicted, would he have to register as a sex offender?

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  • Lazer Skid May 28, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I am confused why is Matthew claimed a First Amendment right to bike naked and now he is irked that people have started to support his First Amendment claim? Sounds like he can’t make up his mind.

    Matthew posted back in February:
    “hey marcus… will you be at my jury trial in april? yes i was only expressing my 1st amendment rights while riding a bike… but vancouver certainly isn’t portland…”
    comment 4
    http://bikeportland.org/2010/02/08/7th-annual-mini-bike-winter-starts-thursday/

    It does look like Matthew, the prosecutor and everyone else agrees on something: Vancouver isn’t Portland.

    Can Marcus’ full email to the mayor be posted? I would like to know how he justified naked bike riding to Vancouver’s city council. Wouldn’t that be a lot like convincing Mayberry’s zoning board to allow a strip club?

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  • Guinness at Midnight May 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    crap! Vilhauer’s case could not have happened at a worst time for Vancouver. Budget cuts are threatenting to remove the city’s bike program, on-street bike parking projects are hitting stiff resistence and with the World Naked Bike Ride two weeks away, there is little time to discuss acceptable standards of undress with the police in time for naked rides.

    Fallout from Vilhauer’s drunken stupidtiy is distracting from more important matters. Best thing is for the city to not re-file charges. Everyone can go home and people can rally around saving the city’s bike program. If the city re-files…. it could get ugly. Would 200 naked bodies at city hall change their mind or only cause them to dig their heels in deeper? Does Vancouver want to be the fist domino to fall in getting the World Naked Bike Ride banned from Washington State?

    No one wants to defend Vilhauer’s childish bar stool antics, but he could be the poster child to ban all naked protests Clark County. Begrudgling, people are going to have to get this to work out.

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  • Qutie May 29, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Matthew (#3) and Dabby (#18):

    Gimme a break. Matthew is okay with giving video interviews and but he doesn’t want people to talk about it? What type of mutant thinking is that.

    http://vancouver.katu.com/content/jury-cant-decide-if-nude-biker-was-indecent?video=YHI&t=a

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  • EmGee May 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

    WTF???

    Is Vancouver so rich in tax moneys that it can pay to continue to prosecute this kind of meaningless case? Win or lose, this case can only have a negative affect on the quality of life in Vancouver.

    Charges should be dropped now; not a dime more in taxpayer moneys should be spent on this meaningless activity.

    Additionally, there probably should be an investigation of the city’s attorney, who may have been using city resources to attempt to advance his personal political agenda. I cannot think of any other reason why this case went to trial.

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  • wsbob May 29, 2010 at 11:25 am

    From maus’s story above:

    “…”Not Portland” indeed. On this side of the river, biking naked is a common and accepted occurrence. …” maus

    In Portland, biking naked is not actually ‘common’ except during the annual WNBR, and to a far less degree during the gay pride parade. What about biking naked being ‘accepted’ in Portland? During the WNBR…sure; It’s accepted that people will ride the 2 hrs or so of that event in varying degrees of nudity or nakedness.

    During that event, many bystander-spectators probably derive a range of satisfaction from seeing the spectacle, demonstration, celebration, or whatever it might be called…proceed on by. And then it’s gone for another year, except for an occasional incident of nudity at the Alberta Last Friday, etc.

    Biking naked in Portland might be said to be common, but the fact is, it doesn’t seem to be common at all outside of a few hours on a couple days out of the year during special events. And outside of those events, is the activity ‘accepted’, so much as it is ‘tolerated’?

    Go to downtown Portland or any neighborhood in the city on almost every day of the year; it’s likely that not a single nude person will be seen out riding a bike. Some of you commenting here might want to do your own experiments to find out how common and accepted naked biking is in Portland.

    Oregon is supposedly…coming up on some hot, dry days yet this year. Why get clothing all sweated up on the 7-9am, 4-6pm commute to work across the Hawthorne Bridge and into downtown? Just pack the work togs in the pannier and go naked, dress on arriving to work. Far as I know, nobody’s doing that yet. The response from the public should be interesting.

    The public seems to be willing and obliged to tolerate naked biking as a legitimate form of free speech, but does it really choose to encourage the practice of naked biking when other more socially harmonious and constructive forms of free speech are readily available? I don’t think so.

    Naked biking might be fine for a lark, but I’ve got a strong feeling that people in Portland or most any American city, would not agree that naked biking is common and accepted, and are not looking forward to it becoming so, at least not on a random day to day basis.

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  • Dabby May 29, 2010 at 11:50 am

    My point is that if left alone these charges would surely be dropped.

    Vancouver cyclists are generally left alone, even with the stupid helmet law.

    Let’s keep it that way.
    Stirring the pot(deeply) only brings the burned stuff on the bottom to the surface.

    Not even lemon juice would save the dinner.

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  • Janet May 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Dabby (#45): “My point is that if left alone these charges would surely be dropped.”

    Matt was arrested last June and it was “left alone” until after Matt gave media interviews and after the DA’s office stated charges might be re-filed.

    Was it “stirring the pot” or just pertinent media coverage when Bike Portland covered Rev. Phil’s indecent exposure arrest in 2006?
    http://bikeportland.org/2006/12/11/naked-ride-incident-goes-to-court-wednesday/

    No one really cares about Matt’s case insomuch as people care about preserving the right to participate in naked bike rides. There was talk in March of setting up a Vancouver naked bike ride to cap off Pedalplooza. The idea got tanked because of the on-going case. If luck holds, maybe one can held next year.

    Speaking of which, a meeting is being held today to discuss potential impacts on a protest rally. It looks like the pre-meeting idea is collaboration is better than confrontation.

    12 Days to Pedalplooza :-)

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  • Tony Columbo May 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    He should have been given at least a DUII for riding a bicycle drunk on his butt and the book thrown at him including all the normal fines and fees. Suspension of his license.

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  • Waltizing Matilda May 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Naked bike riding? Really? Why would you want to do that? I have enough problems with my saddle going up places I would rather it not go. Not to mention around here it would probably cause a massive car pile up for people being shocked at the sight of someone riding a bike nekkid. Then, there’s all the people (me included) who would fall off their bikes from the shock of it.

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  • Marcus Griffith May 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    1) The group planning a naked protest ride have concluded that such a ride would impede other bike advocacy projects to an unsatisfactory degree. Even my vigorous embrace of First Amendment ideology has to understand the pragmatic reality of contemporary politics.

    2) Regarding Bike DUI–one does not need a license to operate a bicycle, so what good would taking away someone’s driving license do? Additionally, was his BAC even taken? If not, there can be no presumption that his BAC was over the legal limit. He was in compliance with traffics and helmet laws.

    3) The very question if a bicyclist could be charged with a DUI under current Washington laws was put to the Court of Appeals in “City of Montesano v. Wells”. The Courts ruled that the state law makers never intended bicyclists to subjected to DUI laws and stated:

    “We agree that while riding a bicycle while intoxicated may pose a danger, it is not of the same magnitude as the hazard posed by the intoxicated driver of a motor vehicle”

    Full Decision is worth reading:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13241013133072893538&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

    4) The wide range of opinions expressed on Bike Portland is a tribute to the diversity of cyclists and the importance of public debate protected under the First Amendment.

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  • jim May 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Would they let him spend the 90 days in jail naked?

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  • robert May 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Act like a fool,suffer the consequences. Then comes the outrage,what a surprise !!!
    Just more of the teenage keg party mentality that seems to be too much of a part of the Portland ( and Vancouver ? ) bike scene. The people that do these idiotic things are almost always portrayed as innocent victims ( like super bozo Rev.Phil ),and anyone that isn’t thrilled with their actions is portayed as some sort of big bad wolf. These knotheads are just looking for attention like little kids. All I can say is GROW UP,SOBER UP,and find something better to do with your bike !!! Thanks ever so much for making Portlands cyclists look like Scumbag morons.

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  • robert May 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Hey bikeportland why do so many of my comments get “moderated” ?? Are you afraid of ideas that are a little different from the majority ?? Insulting your friends maybe ?? Not very democratic of you is it ??

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  • Barney May 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Velophile #8: Religous intolerance? Can’t we all just get along? Resorting to name calling and insults are signs of a weak argument. Were you abused by Nuns or what?

    Jonathon: I didn’t think you allowed this kind of discourse here?

    Did I miss it #14: (We are all to blame.) You have that right, if you ever drive, use public transit, buy food, manufactured goods or electricity then you are also to blame. If you contribute in any way to the demand for energy then you are driving the need for producing it. Just so you know!

    Being naked shouldn’t be a crime but being drunk, stupid and naked should be.

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  • Jazmine May 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    From Body Paint to Burka in two days.

    Thrusday night, In the tasty halls of the Blind Onion, we spawned the idea of a body paint rally. With bold colors and catchy slogans we were going to protest the prudish nature of Vancouver. We were going to show by example that the human body is not obscene. We planned to strike the very next morning to catch the city with its pants down. “Someone” talked us into putting it off and writing a letter to “work with the city”. So we put our newly purchased body paint away and agreed to meet today to plan our rally.
    Alas, there was a Judas among us. Today, instead of logistics of a rally, we were instructed on the precarious nature of the city bike program and convinced that “distractions” would only interfere with getting more bike routes.
    So now, rather than acting out, we wait.
    We wait for a city to realize that naked bike rides are not indecent. We wait for a city to keep its bike program. We wait for a reason to wear the body paint so eagerly bought. But most of all, we wait for a leader that does not cower from city scorn.

    Until we get answers, we might as well wear burkas.

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  • John Russell (jr98664) May 30, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Hopefully this won’t throw a wrench in my plans of a naked cycling escapade through Vancouver next week.

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  • wsbob May 30, 2010 at 1:42 am

    “…Being naked shouldn’t be a crime but being drunk, stupid and naked should be.” Barney

    Or at least very much discouraged. Locally, in Happy Valley, there was, or maybe still is, the dude that thinks it’s a great idea to mow his lawn in the nude. That is, the front lawn. Newspaper interviewed him in 2007. He claims he’s a ‘naturist’.

    NudeHappy Valley gardener says law doesn’t mean he’ll put on clothes
    By Wanda Cochran, The Oregonian October 17, 2007, 9:26PM

    Neighbors got tired of that very quickly. At their request, Happy Valley city council put together an ordinance to encourage the nude lawn mower to put some clothes on.

    Also in the last year or so, there was the gal down in Ashland that enjoyed walking about the little town, bosom joyously embracing the fresh air. That seemed to kind of upset people down there, especially when she wanted to roller skate with the lovelies out, in the 4th of July parade, it being thought of by the townspeople as kind of a family event. She was actually a kind of legitimate protester though. Quite a step above the drunk, nude Vancouver bicycle rider.

    As is this comely gal protesting in England(posting the pic would be better, but the link will have to do):

    Naked woman in ‘yoga protest’ at Parliament/Metro Reporter UK

    Someone in an expression of protest, doing yoga in the nude on a London cab has way more class than mowing the lawn in the nude, or sitting on a bar stool in the nude, getting drunk.

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  • Anonymous May 30, 2010 at 9:33 am

    He got drunk and he got naked.

    He was drunk in public and creating a public disturbance.

    So rather than own up to what he did, he tries to foist it off as a first amendment and cyclist’s rights issue to avoid prosecution. What does sitting in a bar naked have to do with vulnerable cyclists? Are cyclist somehow more vulnerable than any other bar patron?

    This is the last person I want standing up for my rights as a cyclist.

    And I love when those who can’t understand the law that says a stop sign means stop, quote statutes chapter and verse when needed. Seems a bit hypocritcal to me either the laws are meant to be obeyed or they aren’t.

    Grow up, and own up. This was a pub crawl gone bad, nothing more nothing less.

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  • Stubby Is Good Too... May 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Reading the law, it doesn’t seem to make sense that it even went to trial.

    “a person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person… knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.”

    How could anyone know that riding naked would cause “reasonable affront of alarm” if thousands do it every year without any real issue?

    “obscene exposure” means that just being naked isn’t enough otherwise the law would simply read “any open exposure”

    so… what did he do that was “obscene”?

    Was he masturbating, visibly turgid, flinging poo like a caged monkey? If he wasn’t doing anything, than the charge should have been tossed months ago.

    What happened to details about him getting hit by the patrol car during the arrest? Wasn’t that the “hit-and-run” talked about the days after the party?

    As for canceling the naked protester, what is the point of protesting if it is only done when sanctioned?

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.88.010

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  • Vancouver Bob May 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Why is this even a big deal?

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  • trail user May 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Doubt the DA will refile as the case had little chance of a conviction as evidenced by a 5-1 not guilty vote. A 5-1 guilty vote on the other hand…

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  • Tankagnolo Bob May 31, 2010 at 10:20 am

    On the one side, I would probably only ride nakid in an organized nakid ride event. But it is pretty dumb to waste time arresting him, or if that, going beyond the arrest to actually go to trial.

    The arrest, I can accept. They then should have dismissed him, and told him to stick with organized nakid events.

    Due to them going to trial, I would be glad to join in any nakid protest ride that may materialize from this.

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  • spare_wheel May 31, 2010 at 10:52 am

    “public disturbance”

    I love the vagueness of that term. So banal and so potentially evil.

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  • robert May 31, 2010 at 11:11 am

    spare wheel,your reaction to a simple term is a good example of PARANOIA. Really want to avoid unwanted attention from the authorities ?? Don’t do foolish things in public and you won’t have anything to worry about.

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  • dabby May 31, 2010 at 11:12 am

    So it sounds like the organizers of the protest made the right decision for the future of Cycling in the City of Vancouver.

    I applaud this.

    We have the opportunity, with a new Mayor, a new cycling group ( the new mayor has been to a meeting by the way) and good attitudes to improve cycling in the ‘Couv.

    As much fun as people have cycling naked, it is in no way a good vehicle for support of cycling here.

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  • robert May 31, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Jazmine,there are plenty of art pieces celebrating the human body. It truly is amazing in both form and function. Art is a tasteful expression recognizing that fact. A bunch of naked people riding bikes in public has nothing to do with celebrating beauty OR making ANY legitimate point. The reality is MOST naked folks are kind of disgusting to look at and really what point are you trying to make ?? It’s just more of the teenage keg party mentality around this area,can’t you find something better to do with your time and effort ?? Getting drunk/stoned and drawing attention to yourself accomplishes NOTHING worthwhile !!!

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  • JE May 31, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Looking over the comments, this really isn’t about cycling is it? It’s about making a public spectacle of yourself for some personal reason. This should really be on SomebodyPayAttentionToMePortland.org not BikePortland. Since it is here on BikePortland ask yourselves this question:

    Does this encourage the average citizen to join you on a bike, or lock their car doors?

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  • Did I miss it? Again? June 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

    JE-
    Thank you.

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  • KWW June 1, 2010 at 11:51 am

    being naked? not a big deal, drinking and naked? another matter…

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  • Anonymous June 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    “reasonable affront or alarm”

    It has to do with community standards.

    A lot of judgment in this, but what flies in Portland may not fly in other areas of the country.

    The community defines what is a reasonable affront.

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  • Gina June 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    #65 “Robert”: I disagree. Strongly. There are tons of historical and modern examples of political movements successfully incorporating nudity into their message.

    The often cited First Amendment argument holds. It doesn’t matter if “you” don’t think the message is “legitimate”, free speech is vital to public discourse. I doubt you would willingly subject yourself to the very speech limitations you espouse in this case. Would you want to live in a world where someone else decided what was “legitimate” for you to talk about? Shudder the thought…

    Holding the naked rally Friday morning would have been better. Quick feedback to government overreach is more effective at preventing future abuse

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  • Anonymous June 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Please give historical examples of legitimate nude protests that were fueled by a late night pub crawl.

    Do not legitimatize this farce.

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  • robert June 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Gina #70,Lot’s of “someone elses” decide what’s legitimate,and hopefully they will have the sense to keep their clothes on. It’s what is known as a civilized society. I think it’s pathetic that so many people in the U.S.A. feel they have to protest for such absolute nonsense as this.Portland seems to be the poster child for this idiocy. Wouldn’t helping others in need or teaching kids a valuable new skill be time better spent than rolling around town naked like fools ??!!!!

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  • Marcus Griffith June 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Wow, Robert, I take it you spend a lot of time fishing for Red Herrings… After-all, wouldn’t “teaching kids a valuable skill” be time better spent than posting on this blog, watching TV or taking long drives to the supermarket? Robert meet logic, logic, meet Robert… play nice now.

    There seems to be 5 aspects of the incident that need to be addressed separately.

    1) Nudity as Obscene
    2) Nudity as Free Speech
    3) Level of Intoxication
    4) Effectiveness of Nudity as Protest

    1) Nudity as obscene is open for debate at a conceptual level. However, the guy was charged with violating a concrete state law, not an abstract concept. Legally, the law does not prohibit mere public nudity. So, unless anyone can show evidence that he did something other-than merely be naked in public (being in a turgid state or jerking off would do), the charge will not stick. Please keep in mind, that no one took the stand to testify he or she was offended by the act. Therefore according to the law and court records, there was no crime and no victim.

    2) Nudity as Free Speech or an act of protest keeps showing up across the world. A recent example is the woman who undressed in public in Punjab to protest the police failing to registrar her report of being raped.
    http://www.desivideonetwork.com/view/x09r8stu4/rape-victim-strips-in-public-to-protest/

    However, keep in mind that the First Amendment does not authorize free speech, it protects free speech. It is on the government, not the individual, to prove an act does not merit first amendment protection. Does anyone have evidence based, logical argument as to why nudity is not protected speech? Likely not. In the decades of this debate, ever attempt to universal ban public nudity has failed.

    3) Level of Intoxication during the incident is a moot point. Public drunkenness, or bike riding, is not a crime by itself, see link in comment way above to the court ruling. Also, it does not appear his BAC was taken at any point. Therefore, the presumption of innocence requires no presumption of guilt. So, his level of intoxication, what ever it was, is a non-issue at this time.

    4) The effectiveness of public nudity as a means of protest is a debate merit significant discussion at a pragmatic level of any movement. However, the effectiveness of a message is mostly irrelevant to one’s right to broadcast the message.

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  • robert June 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Whoa !!! Keep yer pants on Marcus !! The things I’ve said are LOGIC,and I would have to say you have probably won the prize for wasting time posting to this blog (with extra bonus points for tedium ). In between posts I am preparing for a freakbike building class for some great kids in Silverton Oregon.Haven’t driven to the store in 10 years,and only watch old monster movies on tape occasionally.As far as breaking things into 4 parts? Don’t see the point,conduct yourself with a little class and self control in public and there won’t be any problems. THAT’S LOGIC>

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  • Vancouver Bob June 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    if the guy spent a fraction of thinking about his actions that has occured on this blog, he would have kept his pants on or not bike circles around a group of teenagers.

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  • trail user June 1, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Should have written ‘PETA’ all over himself.

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  • Blockfoot June 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I too would like to see Vancouver City Council pass a resolution endorsing nude cycling as a legitimate, if controversial, form of protest.

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  • Spiffy June 3, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I’m saddened to see all the anti-nudity comments… and not sure why everybody thinks people only get naked to draw attention to themselves because they’re idiots or have nothing better to do…

    I bet everybody here was born naked… and you don’t need a reason to be naked… and nobody is an idiot just because they’re naked… some of you have serious issues…

    Marcus Griffith #35: in the newscast she says that “Somebody has to file a complaint, and then they have to go to court. Police are not victims so if they see it they can’t do anything about it unless you do something about it.” so it seems somebody was offended enough to call and complain to police otherwise they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it…

    Guinness at Midnight #41: I want to defend Vilhauer’s bar stool antics…

    wsbob #44: I look forward to naked biking (and everything else naked) becoming common and acceptable…

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  • robert June 3, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Hey Spiff,where do kids fit in your drunken,naked dreamworld ? I’ve got issues alright with people who think like you,the “anything goes” crowd. Be careful what you wish for,you just might get it,and EVERYONE will suffer the consequences.

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  • wsbob June 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

    “…wsbob #44: I look forward to naked biking (and everything else naked) becoming common and acceptable…” Spiffy #78

    Spiffy, you don’t have to look any further than the next WNBR or perhaps the next occasion you might have to visit a naturist retreat (no news about it recently, but there’s one out around the North Plains area.).

    Beyond those two types of occasions for common and acceptable nakedness, would you care to explain what else you might have had in mind along that line? For example…I don’t know how often you get downtown, but if you have, you might have occasionally noticed people sitting up against buildings, asking for spare change. So how might you feel about it being common and accepted for such persons to be sitting there naked as they go about this activity?

    In the picture above, accompanying maus’s story, we see Vilhauer’s naked backside plopped on a bar stool. So I’m wondering if whoever was minding the floor, followed up after he left, and gave the stool the old Lysol treatment, so the next person sitting on the stool wouldn’t be absorbing onto themselves or their clothes…as would most likely be the case…anything Vilhauer might have unthinkingly deposited there.

    For all the people that don’t go to bars, how about if being naked were common and accepted in coffee shops and grocery stores? I wonder how many people reading here, might be looking forward to that.

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  • Caleb June 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    omg kids may see nudity…

    yeah like in the internet age and sexting rates any teenager is going to be seeing anything they haven’t already seen.

    “we must protect the children” is an overdone battle cry for censorship. Besides, from the stories I heard, no one saw anything anyways… I guess it was just too cold that night.

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