Cops briefly clash with naked bike riders

Cops briefly clash with naked bike riders

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Police officers trying to control a mass ride of naked bicyclists decided against making any arrests after the confrontation intensified.

Roughly 100 bicyclists in various states of undress took part in the hour-long event that mimicked similar rides held in bigger cities around the world. Along the way, riders cheered, chanted and stopped traffic as they pedaled through the streets of Eugene.

Organizers of the Saturday night event did not alert Eugene police in advance, but officers quickly caught on. At one point, at least three patrol cars showed up near the main pack of cyclists.

When an officer grabbed one of them, several bicyclists surrounded the officer, shouting at him to let the rider go. After letting the first cyclist go, the officer grabbed another.

Cassandra Hurd, 21, then rammed her bike into the other rider's bike.

She told The Register-Guard newspaper she was trying to keep police from making an arrest: "We were making a statement; we weren't doing anything wrong."

An officer grabbed Hurd, who was wearing only panties, and put her on the ground, preparing to arrest her. Another officer trained his Taser on a naked man who approached the scene, but did not use the weapon.

The officers let Hurd go after the crowd chanted for them to leave her alone.

"We attempted to make arrests but the crowd turned on the two officers we had trying to handle the situation and they elected to disengage before someone got hurt," Eugene police Lt. Rich Stronach said.

Stronach said officers may not have gotten involved if the organizers had contacted police ahead of time and obeyed traffic laws.

Naked bike rides, most of them peaceful, have been staged in dozens of cities around the world in recent years. The purpose, besides fun, is to protest global oil dependency and celebrate cycling and the human body.

Portland has been host to such rides for several years. Last year's event drew more than 1,000 participants.

"It's just fun and it caught on as a novel thing to do," said Jonathan Maus, editor of bikeportland.org. "It's a sign of a good healthy bike culture."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)