Police in New Zealand have fined a man who was riding his bike in the nude – because he wasn’t wearing a cycle helmet. As in Australia, helmets are compulsory for all cyclists in New Zealand.
According to Stuff.co.nz, officers spotted the unnamed 33-year-old yesterday afternoon on the high street in the port city of Timaru, which lies between Canterbury and Dunedin on the country’s South Island.
While police stopped short of telling the man to put a lid on his nakedness, they did pull him up for failing to wear one on his head.
Sergeant Randel Tikiti said that the man had not been charged with indecent exposure since committing such an offence would “depend on what could be seen.”
It was reported that the man had been drinking, although a spokeswoman for Transport New Zealand confirmed that drink-driving laws there do not apply to cyclists.
"But,” she went on, “there is an offence of careless use of a vehicle, and as 'vehicle' is defined in a way that includes bicycles, it could be used.
"While impairment on its own would unlikely result in a conviction, impairment combined with erratic driving behaviour – ie weaving all over the road and getting in the way of other drivers -possibly could.
"There is a maximum fine of NZ$3,000 [approximately £1,500] and the court may disqualify from holding of obtaining a driver's licence for a period."
Police declined to charge the man with careless use of a vehicle, however, instead charging the man with failure to wear a helmet.
In 2010 another nude cyclist in New Zealand, Nick Lowe, won a High Court appeal against his conviction for offensive behaviour. He had been fined NZ$200 [around £100] after a female motorist complained.
At the time, he said: “It's a lifestyle thing. To put clothes on is uncomfortable. It's not about exhibitionism, I'm just uncomfortable in clothes."
Allowing the appeal, the judge noted that Lowe had been arrested on World Naked Bike Day and may have been showing solidarity for that event.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.