The World Naked Bike Ride took place in Madison (and a lot of other places) on Saturday. It was barely noticed by Madison cops, which is as it should be.
Apparently, there's some murkiness about whether or not it's illegal to be naked on the streets of our fair city, but you can certainly get yourself cited for disorderly conduct for going clothes-free. That's what happened to a handful of people at last year's first event, which like a lot of first events felt a little awkward.
Now, with a year under our belt (or not if you're not wearing pants), naked bike riding has already become more or less (well, mostly less, I guess) just another one of those Madison Things the rest of the state loves so much about us. The Madison cops' strategy this year was to let it all hang out until the end of the ride, when they asked for one volunteer to be cited for conduct that was disorderly. A brave soul stepped forward and that was that. (I'm still not clear why even that was necessary, but anyway it was all very civil and you gotta like that.)
It should be noted that this very same month the police will start a new unit dedicated to the relative handful of habitual criminals who account for a disproportionate share of crime in our town. The Chronic Offenders Unit will get up close and personal with these guys, but with a view not just to locking them up but also giving them a chance to go in a different direction.
Modeled after a program from High Point, North Carolina, the unit will confront career criminals with a choice between serious charges that could lock them up for a very long time or programs and community support that would help them find legitimate ways of making a living and contributing to society. I was happy to fund that program in my last budget.
Focusing limited resources on turning around the bad guys instead of turning around a bunch of naked people on bikes seems like the right set of priorities to me.