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Dumb Crazy Laws Worldwide

Updated on May 29, 2011

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:


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!”


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


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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?


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


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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"


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