I’ve been living in California for almost a decade now and someone pointed out to me that it is law you put your lights on when using windscreen wipers. I didn’t realise this but do it anyway because I have a brain.
You may wonder why something so obvious has to be legislated, but California is a place where legislators feel they have to legislate the obvious. When someone has a career is based on how many laws they make, and then on top of that grandstanding on them helps to get re-elected, a state can end up with some real head scratchers and some genuine Captain Obvious laws.
Then of course, like anywhere, there are some bizarrely antiquated laws that for what ever reason never got struck down.
Here’s a mixture of all the above:
(1) In California, it can be illegal for a woman to drive while wearing a bathrobe. Although if you have driven in L.A you can be forgiven for thinking it’s perfectly legal to use the rearview mirror to do your makeup while drinking coffee and checking your Facebook feed… unless you’re wearing a bathrobe.
(2) You can actually be pulled over for driving too slow. The reality is that California and a few other “vacation” states actually recognises that a slow moving vehicle in normal paced traffic can be a hazard.
It also may be the most humiliating law for a petrol head to have to show up in court for.
(3) State law legislates that it is illegal to play “any sound amplification system” so loud that it can be heard 50 feet or more from the vehicle. I actually like this law because I don’t want to listen to other peoples terrible taste in music, but it’s rarely used as anything more than probable cause when cops want to check out someone they want to have a word with.
(4) It’s a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
Here are some more local laws:
In the city of Arcadia peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways.
In Eureka, no matter how comfortable that concrete or tarmac may look it is in fact illegal to use a road as a bed.
In case you were thinking about it, if you visit Baldwin Park you’re not allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
Chico has made it illegal to plant rutabagas in roadways. I have no idea rutabagas is but in case you ever end up in Chico also bear in mind bowling on the sidewalk is illegal as well as driving a herd of cattle down a street and planting a garden in any public street. Just to kill all the joy of it’s residents, Chico has ruled that detonating a nuclear device within the city limits will result in a $500 fine.
In Glendale It’s illegal to jump from a vehicle moving more than 65 mph…
… Sixty four miles per hour and you’re fine, but sixty five and your wearing these steel bracelets and coming me with me son. It’s also illegal in Glendale to jump into a passing car, and cars may not be driven in reverse.
Good news though, contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal for anyone in California to drive while barefoot.
So there’s that.