May 14

Yes, it is Legal to Run Bay to Breakers Naked, and Yes, this Article is NSFW

Just got off the phone with the SFPD, and this is confirmed — yes, it is legal to run the Bay to Breakers race completely naked.

Thanks to San Francisco’s extremely permissive public nudity laws, running 7.5 miles with your respective boobs or junk flopping around in public is 100% legal. The only restrictions on your public nudity are that you may not enter a restaurant, and you may not sit your bare ass upon any benches or public seating without first placing a towel or some material upon the seating area. Other than that, you can totally rock out with your vagina/cock out.

UPDATE: The SFPD has clarified to me via email that “Exposing one’s private parts in public is not unlawful unless the act is committed LEWDLY (i.e. erect penis).”. So, ummm, no erect penises, guys.

Now technically, it is against the rules of the Bay to Breakers race to run naked — but the Bay to Breakers organization has substantially toned down its enforcement. This year’s Bay to Breakers rules do not mention any ban on nudity — the only mentioned banned objects or practices on the race course are wheeled objects, alcohol, and floats. Race spokesman Sam Singer told the SF Chronicle, “There has always been a ban on nudity – it has never been enforced and it won’t likely be enforced this year, either.”

Know who we can thank for the Bay to Breakers’ non-enforcement of their nudity ban? None other than our allegedly-wifebeating Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Mirkarimi took up the cause for nudity at Bay to Breakersin 2009 when he was a city supervisor, noting, “Nudity and floats are part of the overall eccentric nature of the race and what makes it so great.”

Funny how our perceptions of people change over time, huh?

It is believed that the first person to run Bay to Breakers nude was Lesli Josephson, a nurse who did so in 1978. The largest organized group of naked runners are Bare to Breakers, who have been doing this since 1993. You can still join them in time for Sunday’s race!