Dumb Crazy Laws Worldwide

Did you think only the U.S. has dumb, crazy stupid laws on the books? Uh-uh!

Do you think I'm showing too much skin?
Do you think I'm showing too much skin?

Dumb Crazy Laws Worldwide

After writing four Hubs on the dumbest, craziest, "stupidest" U.S. laws I could find - see list of those Hubs below - I have turned my attention to the dumbest laws I could unearth from all over the world. My research proved that the U.S. has no monopoly on dumb laws. For example:

Australia

You must have a neck-to-knee swimsuit in order to swim at Brighton Beach. Must be a lot of really senior swimmers at that beach. Those suits were popular in the 1920s.

Children may not purchase cigarettes, but they may smoke them. Guess the little kiddies will just have to turn to shoplifting.

It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face as these items are the tools of a cat burglar. Or a disturbed mind.

The legal age for straight sex is 16, unless the person is in the care/custody of the older person, in which case it is 18. What’s the legal age for crooked sex?

Only licensed electricians may change a light bulb. Forgive me, I can’t let this opening go by without responding: “How many (insert favorite ethnicity) does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “Three. One to change the bulb and two to turn the ladder.”

Bahrain

A male doctor may legally examine a woman’s genitals but is forbidden from looking directly at them during the examination; he may only see their reflection in a mirror. There is no comment I could devise that is funnier than this law.

Belgium

A driver who needs to turn through oncoming traffic has the right of way unless he slows down or stops. Let me see if I understand this. If a driver exercises caution, he loses the right of way. If he barrels right through oncoming traffic, he’s legal. Though possibly injured or dead. Wonder if this law was sponsored by the F.D.A. – Funeral Directors Association.

Cambodia

Water guns may not be used in New Year’s celebrations. Use real guns; they make a much louder noise.

I like to think of myself as a horse of a different color.
I like to think of myself as a horse of a different color.

Canada

If you are released from prison, it is required that you are given a handgun with bullets and a horse, so you can ride out of town. That’s only fair. You had a gun and a horse when you rode in.

You may not pay for a fifty-cent item with only pennies. The cashiers have limited math skills.

You may never use dice to play craps. Pray tell, what may you use instead?

It is illegal to turn right on a red light at any time. What if a shrieking ambulance is behind you?

Margarine producers can’t make their margarine yellow. How about tan, beige or ecru?

Homeowners are responsible for clearing snow off of municipal sidewalks. I thought that was the city’s job.

The city is classified as a no-pee zone. What a relief!

The color of house and garage doors is regulated by city bylaws (a purple door can get you a fine). Bet chartreuse would get you a jail term.

You can’t work on your car in the street. Take it into your house.

It’s illegal to climb trees. Your kitty cat will just have to stay up there where she is.

China

To go to college, you must be intelligent. Why? That’s never stopped any student in the U.S.

Drivers of power-driven vehicles who stop at pedestrian crossings are liable to a fine of up to five yuan, or a warning. Crossings are dangerous to your health if you’re a pedestrian.

Denmark

Before starting your car you are required to check lights, brakes, steering and honk your horn. It’s also useful to open the car door first.

If a horse-drawn carriage is trying to pass a car and the horse becomes uneasy, the owner of the car is required to pull over and if necessary, cover the car. Do they have Amish people in Denmark, too?

An attempt to escape from prison is not illegal; however, if one is caught he is required to serve out the remainder of his term. If at first you don’t succeed, attempt, attempt again.

No one may start a car while someone is underneath the vehicle. Unless that person is an in-law. Just kidding.

Headlights must be on whenever a vehicle is being operated in order to distinguish it from parked cars. So that’s how you can tell the difference.

There is a penalty of 20 krone for not reporting when a person has died. Did this happen often?

One may not be charged for food at an inn unless that person, by his or her own opinion, is “full”. In my neighborhood, an inn like that would be out of business in less than one week.

Finland

Donald Duck comics were once banned because he never wore trousers. Neither did Pluto

I'm not one to sit on the "fench". I speak Pig Latin, also French.
I'm not one to sit on the "fench". I speak Pig Latin, also French.

Crazy Laws

France

No pig may be addressed as “Napoleon” by its owner. I just call my pig Emperor Bonaparte for short.

It is forbidden to die on the territory of the commune without a cemetery plot. Be sure to buy a plot, so it will be there when you’re not.

An ashtray is considered to be a deadly weapon. Considered by who?

It is illegal to kiss on railways in France. Also dangerous.

Germany

Every office must have a view of the sky, however small. That would be difficult for an office in the basement or cellar.

A pillow can be considered a “passive” weapon. Put that weapon down or I’ll pummel you with this perilous pillow.

It is illegal for one’s car to run out of gas on the Autobahn. Make that very clear to your car: “You will not run out of gas. That is an order!”

Greece

One could not wear a hat in the Olympic Stadium in ancient times as it could obstruct someone’s view. It still does.

Indonesia

The penalty for masturbation is decapitation. They cut off your head? Wrong end!

Grease my palm, my friend. I'll take you to the rainbow's end.
Grease my palm, my friend. I'll take you to the rainbow's end.

Ireland

Any person who shall pretend or exercise the use of any type of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or pretend knowledge in any occult craft or science shall for any such offense suffer imprisonment at the time of one whole year. If those leprechauns tell you there’s gold in that pail, don’t listen to them or you’ll end up in jail.

Israel

It is forbidden to bring bears to the beach. Let them take the bus.

It is against the law to feed animals in public places. Don’t go too close to the lions in the zoo. They are really hungry.

It is considered an offense to operate a mobile spay/neuter clinic – it is considered peddling. Cats and dogs consider it meddling.

Italy

It is illegal to practice the profession of a charlatan -.pretending to have knowledge or ability one does not possess. We could use that law in the U.S. to eliminate thousands of politicians.

A man may be arrested for wearing a skirt. What if he’s Scotch? Or a member of the Greek National Guard?

Mexico

Clergymen may not wear their religious garb in public. Isn’t that where it’s usually worn?

Boneshakers, safety bicycles, and any other similar machines are banned from the center of town. I had to do some research on this one. A boneshaker was an old-fashioned bicycle made in the 1800s with a stiff wrought-iron frame, wooden wheels and tires made of iron. If you owned one today in the U.S., it would be worth about $5,000.

Bicycle riders may not lift either foot from the pedals, as it might result in a loss of control. It also makes it really difficult to stop.

During Holy Week, no horses or wheeled transport is allowed in the city. Keep those boneshakers at home.

Netherlands

It is legal to smoke pot, buy it, or have less than 5 grams with you. The Dutch are too much.

Prostitution is legal but the prostitutes must pay taxes like any other business. That’s only fair. Wonder how it’s classified. As entertainment tax?

Norway

Licenses must be bought in order to own television sets, and even VCRs. A TV fee for thee and me.

Philippines

Cars with license plate numbers ending in 1 or 2 are not allowed on the roads on Monday. Plates ending in 3 or 4 are not allowed on Tuesday; in 5 or 6 on Wednesday; in 7 or 8 on Thursday; in 9 or 0 on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are OK – they ran out of numbers.

Trust me. I mean you no harm.
Trust me. I mean you no harm.

Romania

Mickey Mouse was banned in 1935 because officials thought the sight of a 10-foot rodent on a screen would terrify the country’s children. Isn’t this the birthplace of Dracula in Transylvania? It's Mickey who should be worried.

Singapore

It is illegal to urinate in an elevator. Of course, there’s no place to hang the toilet tissue!

Homosexuals are not allowed to live in the country. Can they live in the city?

Oral sex is illegal unless it is used as a form of foreplay. Who makes that decision?

Failure to flush a public toilet after use may result in very hefty fines. And very significant odors.

It is illegal to come within 50 meters of a pedestrian crossing marker on any street. What if you’re a pedestrian?

South Africa

Young people wearing bathing suits are prohibited from sitting less than 12 inches apart. Pack your tape measure with your picnic lunch when you go to the beach.

South Korea

Traffic police are required to report all bribes that they receive from motorists. Do they? Don't they? How does anyone know?

Swaziland

Any woman who wears pants faces a possible punishment of having the pants ripped off her and torn to pieces by soldiers. The punishment is much, much worse than the crime.

Sweden

While prostitution is legal, it is illegal to use the services of a prostitute. I need someone to explain this one to me.

You may only own half a meter down in the ground of any land you own. Forget about burying that body in your yard. One and a half feet is way too shallow.

Switzerland

Clothes may not be hung to dry on Sunday. You may not wash your car on a Sunday. It is considered an offense to mow your lawn on a Sunday. Might as well just stay in bed until Monday.

It is illegal to flush the toilet after 10 pm. So plan accordingly.

A man may not relieve himself while standing up after 10 pm. Even in the privacy of his home?

If you forget your car-keys inside the car and you leave the car open, you will be punished. Yes, you will. The car will be stolen.

Thailand

It is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

You must wear a shirt while driving a car. Pants are up to you.

You must pay a fine of $600 if you’re caught throwing away chewed bubble gum on the sidewalk. Don’t be dumb. Swallow the gum.

No one may step on any of the nation’s currency. All the currency (baht) in Thailand bears a picture of the king. Since he is highly revered, stepping on his likeness gets you a jail term and can also lead to a serious beating. Don’t step on a baht. It can hurt you a lot.

Turkey

All married women must get their husband’s permission to have a job They must live wherever the husband wishes to reside They must forfeit all jointly-held assets upon divorce. Ladies, it's a nice place to visit, but you don't want to live there.

Got the plague but no sores or pus? You can ride on a London bus.
Got the plague but no sores or pus? You can ride on a London bus.

United Kingdom

It is illegal to flag down a taxi if you have the plague. Take a bus.

It is illegal to have sex on a parked motorcycle in London. As well as very, very difficult.

Women are allowed to bite off a man’s nose if he kisses her against her will. (Law dates back to 1837). Better a nose, I guess, than

With the exception of carrots, most goods may not be sold on Sunday. How did carrots escape the ban?

London Hackney Carriages (taxis/cabs) must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats. In case passengers want a snack?

It is illegal to be drunk on Licensed Premises (in a pub or bar). Isn’t that where blokes go to get drunk?

It is illegal for two adult men to have sex in the same house as a third person. Why? Would it make him insanely jealous?

It is illegal for a lady to eat chocolates on a public conveyance. Keep the Snickers in your knickers. Put the Hershey in your jersey.

It is illegal to leave baggage unattended. Also stupid.

Hang a bed out of your window and you can be jailed for up to five years. Better a bed, I always say, than a person.

It is illegal for a cab to carry rabid dogs or corpses. Put them in the trunk with the bale of hay and sack of oats.

It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. Being bored to death is not an excuse.

It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down. As bad as stepping on a picture of Thailand’s king.

Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing. Come again. Sounds like something in the U.S. tax code.

Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London. That Constable Is a really happy dude. Perpetually.

A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet. Well, it’s much easier than an empty soda bottle.

A man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle. I can’t help but wonder, what if his left hand is in a plaster cast?

The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the property of the King; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the Queen - in case she needs the bones for her corset. I can understand the bones-for-the-corset law, but why on earth would the king want the dead whale’s head?

In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow. If he has a rifle, too, you’re in big trouble.

Zimbabwe

Citizens may not make offensive gestures at a passing state motorcade. Hint: you could pretend to be picking your nose while subtly thumbing it.

Why am I so enamored of dumb, crazy laws? Because I find it great fun to read and write about them. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Remember - that an optimist laughs to forget. A pessimist forgets to laugh.

© Copyright BJ Rakow Ph.D. 2010, 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So"

More by this Author


Comments 46 comments

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

Love this hub SO funny-Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.I'm still trying to work this out


drbj profile image

drbj 7 years ago from south Florida Author

You're not alone. I can't make any sense out of it at all, but then that's why they are called dumb crazy stupid laws. Thanks for the comment. Love that you love it.


Bubba 7 years ago

Thos laws are really funny but your comments are even funnier. ROTFL at almost every one. Write more.


drbj profile image

drbj 7 years ago from south Florida Author

Hey, Bubba, thanks. LOL is great but ROTFL is the pinnacle of success.


PS 6 years ago

You need to double check the sources of your laws because it is not illegal in every city/province in Canada to turn right on a red light


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks, PS, for the info - I'm happy to learn that "turning on red" is available for drivers in some parts of Canada. My guess is it's probably difficult for new visitors to know which parts.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Hi Doc - Nice of you to refer me to these nutty laws. This one brought back memories: "It is illegal for one’s car to run out of gas on the Autobahn." We were driving to the Ruhr valley on the autobahn, going probably 70 MPH. We were overtaken and passed by a 3-wheel machine made out of a surplus wing tank from a Luftwaffe airplane. Next came a speed limit sign at the side of the road - "Freihe Fahrt" it read (means no speed limit). One of our passengers, who had been reading other road signs on the autobahn such as "Einfahrt" (means entrance), "Ausfahrt" (means exit), and so forth, hollered: "Look, a free one!" Memories play odd tricks as to what it is they remember, right?

Gus :-)))


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Love that "fahrt" anecdote. I remember "Eingang" and "Ausgang" for enter and exit in buildings but not the "fahrt."

I do recall tho that using the toilet facilities cost one pfennig so for the rest of the trip our party was cracking up over our new slogan: "It costs one pfennig to pfiss."

Thanks for stopping by.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Howdy again, Doc - The "gang" part refers to walking in or out. The "fahrt" part comes from the verb, "fahren" which means to travel. Love your potty slogan. Hadn't heard that one before now. Several of us were downing some beer in a village "gasthaus" one evening. I spied "WC" written over a door. My companion told me that it meant "Wasser Closett" [even though it should be spelled with a K - "Klosett"] (water closet - or restroom), and then he said, "but we say to it as 'Vinstoan Chorsch Hill.'" There were a number of times while dealing with the ex-Nazis where their odd dialects and their idioms caused me to (1) wonder what it was they had said to me or (2) laugh out loud so that they thought me daft. One really big thing that I noticed was that they showed really great animosity to their fellows living in another city or even in a village close by their own. It was most strange.

Anyway, "pfis." (!) So, pthanks!

Gus :-)))


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for the explanation; I've always had trouble distinguishing farts from fahrts. Glad you liked the pfennig slogan - our gang still uses it today.

I've traveled quite a bit and learned I only really needed the local translation for three phrases: 1 - Do you know the way to my hotel? 2 - Where is the restroom? 3 - Sorry, that's too expensive.


GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

GojiJuiceGoodness 6 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

Some of these are pretty funny, but the first one about Switzerland is a good one. There is a point--you are supposed to at church instead of working.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Right on the money, goji.

These laws are like the old Blue Laws that still exist in some of our states prohibiting just about everything but breathing on a Sunday.

Thanks for the visit.


amelia 6 years ago

the Canadian's one are not all true!!1!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for visiting, amelia.

These crazy laws were on the books when I penned them. If you know of some that have been removed, please let me know. Thanks.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I'm a wee bit Irish, the rest of me is from dear ole Scotland... guid to see ya had nothing on we Scots..

I found the bit on Ireland

Any person who shall pretend or exercise the use of any type of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or pretend knowledge in any occult craft or science shall for any such offense suffer imprisonment at the time of one whole year. If those leprechauns tell you there’s gold in that pail, don’t listen to them or you’ll end up in jail.

really interesting considering our history before St. Patrick...

Delightful hub and very interesting read. I like this series a great deal and appreiciate your indepth research to uncover these treasures. Thanks and Peace :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, katie, for your visit and delightful comments. It did take a while to do the research for this and the four other crazy law hubs, but it would not have taken so long if I had not stopped so much because I was laughing so hard.

The pleasure was all mine.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Wow- funny stuff! Some really peculiar too like the Bahrain male doctor and a pregnant woman peeing anywhere in United Kingdom- a police's helmet? That's awesome.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I dunno what some of these lawmakers were smoking when they enacted these crazy laws, but it must have been powerful stuff.

The doctor in Bahrain is understandable since local customs keep women under wraps - literally. But the U.K. policeman's helmet law. If I were applying for the force there I know I would request a brand new uniform - head to toe! Thanks for the 'awesome' comment.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

I just thought it was interesting how they got around the custom in Bahrain. Pretty clever.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

You are absolutely right, izettl, when it comes to the subjugation of women or men, some folks get VERY creative. Thanks for the observation.


Invisiblestats profile image

Invisiblestats 6 years ago from london

great hub..gave me a smile thank you.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Delighted I gave you a smile, Invisiblestats, it's one of my favorite things to do. And the pleasure is all mine. If you would like another chuckle or two, please visit the other 4 hubs in this series. Thanks for stopping by.


hobby2me profile image

hobby2me 6 years ago from USA

wow nice research-very interesting!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, hobby2me. Thanks for visiting and the kind comments.

It was comforting to me to learn that we in the U.S. are not alone in enacting crazy, funny, dumb, stupid laws.


Charles James profile image

Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

You are being a little unfair on some of the law makers!

When cabs were horse drawn, oats and hay had to be available for the hard working horse. The ban on rabid dogs and corpses was to prevent the paying passenger doing a runner, leaving the poor cabbie with a rabid dog or corpse to deal with.

There used to be a law prohibiting women from wearing make-up after dark, because drunken young men would propose marriage, not realising that the lady was considerably older than they had thought.

When breach of promise actions were abolished there was no further need for this law, so it was abolished.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Charles James, for the UK crazy laws update. I am aware that many of the funny laws in the UK and the US may have had some rationale when they were created. What I find amusing is that these antiquated and no longer relevant laws still REMAIN on the books.

Thanks for your visit - nice to make your acquaintance.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Hahaha..I always did think Donald Duck was a bit risque.

What a great list. These really remind us what a silly species we can be . That gynecological law in Bahrain has to be one of the most absurd things I've ever heard of! As mad as having sex through a hole in a sheet.

(I just realised I've used that same picture in my 1920 hub drbj. Hope you don't think I stole it!)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Jane, delighted to see you here. We mortals really are a strange bunch, aren't we. Didn't blame you for thinking Donald Duck is a bit risque. After all, Mickey is wearing shorts but Donald runs around with no pants.

No problem with the 1920 graphic, either. What's mine is yours, etc., etc.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. It's always nice to read your comments.


BooYou 5 years ago

Where did you get the rules on Singapore?? Homosexuals not allowed to live in the country? I'm from Singapore and we are very tolerant and accepting of homosexuals. They are treated just like anybody else here.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, BooYou, Singapore, has a thriving gay community but there is still a law on the books, Section 377A of this conservative city-state's penal code which deals with oral and anal sex between consenting men.

The "gross indecency" offense carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail although it is rarely enforced in Singapore today.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 5 years ago

I enjoyed your comments as much as learning about these crazy laws.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

What a lovely thing to say. Thank you, sheila.


DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

DRG Da Real Grinc 5 years ago from All over the USA

What an interesting hub. I was laughing all the way.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Delighted, DRG, that you were laughing all the way. It's the ONLY way to go!


Lydia Martinez 5 years ago

thanks for nothing you need Puerto Rico dumb crazy laws I've looked for ever for nothing thanks for wasting my time


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

If I do learn of some dumb crazy laws in Puerto Rico, Lydia, you will be the first one to know. Promise!


Juiposa 4 years ago

The not bieng allowed to turn right on a red light has been changed here in Canada, we are now allowed to turn right on a red light :P


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you for the crazy law update, Juiposa. In Florida, we also are allowed to turn right on a red light. Tourists have been doing it for years and years.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

A guy from Britain in my gym told me about that pregnant lady peeing in a helmet thing, and thought he was exaggerating... I don't know I would feel about putting that helmet back to use afterwards... LOL


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I dunno, Chris, how many pregnant women take advantage of that really crazy law, but if it is quite a few, then I would like to bid for the helmet replacement concession.

Thanks for finding this one.


the girls profile image

the girls 3 years ago from Los Angeles, California

LOL! an awesome way to wake up this morning :-)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to meet you, the girls, delighted to have given you an awesome wake-up call. Not go read the other 4 hubs in this 'Crazy Dumb Laws series. And let me know what you think. :)


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

hmmm.. that urniating in an elevator thing... I guess that only applies to buildings with less than 100 floors? LOL


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

How's that for an unusual job, Chris? Hunting down and capturing folks who commit urine misdemeanors in elevators. Number two is probably a felony!


keywc58 profile image

keywc58 3 years ago

You are right, these are crazy laws. I wonder who thought of them. Does this mean that the people that govern the world are crazy?


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

We are on the same page, keywc58 - these ARE crazy laws. As to your question, my answer would incriminate me. Don't know if government is crazy or simply terribly misguided. Thanks for the visit.

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