Weird Laws

In 2009, a group of 42 cyclists took to the streets of Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. All of them were naked. At first, it was assumed that they'd broken the law, as it's illegal to disrobe in public in Vermont. However, it turned out that the cyclists hadn't breached the state laws after all.

The loophole they used is that only disrobing in public is illegal, but being naked is not. Since the cyclists had taken their clothes off at home -— where it is legal to do so -— then started their ride, they were not guilty of any violations. Had they ridden downtown, then taken off their clothes, they could have been charged. Clearly, lawmakers in Vermont didn't mind what was under their clothes, just the apparently obscene act of stripping them off where anyone could see.

The Point of the Ride

The cyclists weren't riding around naked for the heck of it, but to protest how the United States is dependent on foreign oil. They wanted to show that people who rode bicycles, rather than driving motor vehicles, were healthier. They also wanted to raise awareness for the environmental impact of carbon emissions and how this could be lessened if bikes were used more often.

They decided to disrobe to draw attention to themselves, knowing they'd be more likely to make the news. They said they were trying to tell the “naked truth” about the oil situation. This ride in Montpelier was Vermont's contribution to the World Naked Bike Ride.

Sex Offender Laws

Though this is a rather lighthearted look at these laws, it's still important to know how any laws work when they deal with actions that could be deemed sexual, such as public exposure. In some cases, even seemingly minor violations could land you on the Sex Offender Registry. For example, urinating in public can sometimes lead to sex offense charges on the grounds of indecent exposure. The cyclists were not charged in this case, but you can see how something like this could bring about a legal battle, and you'll need to make sure you know your rights.