Strange laws from around the world.

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Sophie Palleschi

Image of Strange laws from around the world.

Sophie Palleschi

Don’t drink and ride, and other strange laws


No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.


So said US President Theodore Roosevelt – although we’d bet he’s never had to let someone in his house to use the toilet in the middle of the night*.


For while nobody is above the law, there are definitely some laws out there that are made to be ignored – here are just a few of our favorites from around the world to keep you entertained on a Friday afternoon!


Eyes on the road


In Alabama, it's illegal to drive blindfolded. You would have thought common sense would prevail here, but something must have happened at some point to necessitate this being added to the statute books.


Meanwhile, in Manila, in the Philippines, you cannot drive on Mondays if your number plate ends in a 1 or 2, while the same goes for 3 and 4 on Tuesdays, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursdays and 9 and 0 on Fridays. This is all part of the authorities’ bid to reduce the number of cars on the city’s roads – which is said to have the worst traffic in South East Asia.


Sounds fishy


Parliament's famous Salmon Act of 1986 states that it's illegal to hold a salmon under suspicious circumstances. Sounds fishy, we know, but it's true!


Who let the dogs out?


Animals are another common subject of weird rules and regulations. In Alaska, it’s illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your car and animals must not enter beauty salons for the purpose of hairdressing.


Closer to home, under the UK Licensing Act 1872(2), it’s illegal to be “drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle…”. Just in case you were thinking of riding your horse home from the pub.


You wear it well


We know the French are renowned for their sense of style, but until 2013 (just eight years ago!), it was technically illegal for women to wear trousers in Paris.


As for the men, it is also illegal in Chicago to go fishing while wearing men's pajamas – women’s may be a different matter.


Of course, many of the above laws are simply relics from a previous age, or have been implemented due to specific concerns.


As for whether they are enforceable, and what the punishment may be, who’s going to take the risk of finding out?


* Under Scottish law, if a stranger asks to use your toilet, you are legally obliged to let them.


It comes from an extension of an old Scottish common law requiring hospitality to be shown to all guests – and while it has never been authorised by parliament, it is enforceable.