Writing Prompts: Ridiculous Laws Around the World

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This should be good. There will be numerous absurd, daft, and silly laws to be found anywhere, though most of them will not be enforced, despite technically still being on the books. Let’s start with home…


It is unlawful to transport boards of wood down a sidewalk unless there are intentions of it being unloaded from a vehicle.

This dates back to 1839, when busy, congested city streets made the transportation of goods potentially dangerous. These days, cars and vans don’t travel down pavements, but the law forbidding anyone from transporting planks of wood in their cart is still officially on the books, so no carrying your wood around on the pavement!

In the UK, you can’t stroll cows along the street during the day.

This law goes back to 1867, and forbids anyone from shepherding bovines down city streets between 10am and 7pm. I imagine this relates to the congestion problem again, and lets face it, cows would make things even noisier – and messier – than they were already were back then. In today’s world, there is just no requirement to bring herds of cows into a city, but just in case you were thinking of it, the law says moo!

No Suits of Armour in Parliament.

This particular law goes back to 1313! Members of Parliament are not permitted to wear suits of armour whilst in Parliament. Quite why this law came about, I am not sure, but to fair, given how noisy and clunky armour tends to be, it would not be remotely practical to have hundreds of people trying to awkwardly maneuver themselves around, and sitting down would be very, very hard!

A pet cannot mate with another from the royal household.

I don’t know when this law was created, but as recently as 1965, it carried the death penalty! It is highly unlikely that someone’s domestic mutt would have a sordid encounter with a royal pet, but woe betide you if you allow it to happen!


Moving across the Atlantic, we will find a number of strange and unusual laws…

Don’t Drive Blindfolded in Alabama.

To be fair, this isn’t a bad law, and it’s pretty obvious common sense. What’s more worrying is why this would need to be a law in the first place…

You can’t wash your neighbour’s car without permission in Los Angeles.

In fairness, I wouldn’t be inclined to wash a neighbour’s car, or indeed any part of their property, without checking in with them first. Quite why it needs to be a law though, is beyond me.

You Can’t Send Unsolicited Pizza.

If you attempt this in Louisiana, you can land yourself a $500 fine. I suppose if you’ve sent pizza, without paying for it, to someone else’s address, and they are then staring at something they didn’t ask for, whilst being told to pay for it… well, I’d be annoyed too.

You Need Permission For False Teeth.

In Vermont, women are still technically required to obtain permission from their husbands to get false teeth. This law is obviously not enforced!


The Land of the Rising Sun has a few peculiar laws…

It’s illegal to make clones.

Well, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that this is illegal, but given the technology to make clones is still some way off being viable, you have to think this law is also pretty pointless (which is what a clone would say, stop, arrgh, snirk, aaaaaaaah………).

You can be jailed for putting ice cream in mailboxes.

Well, in fairness, this would be extremely rude, and extraordinarily difficult for the victim of any such move. Jail time seems extreme, but I guess it’s a deterrent for anti-social behaviour?

Japanese citizens need to notify the government before visiting Antarctica.

This law is down to ecological concerns, but it is generally slightly weird to have to alert the government as to your travel plans. Then again, who takes a holiday to Antarctica anyway?!


The Land Down Under really does have some of the strangest laws on the books. For your consideration…

In Queensland, taxi cabs are required to carry a hay bale in the trunk.

Why?! Does this maybe relate to the early days of the first settlers, where horses needed to be catered for?

In Western Australia, it’s an offence to possess 50 kgs of potatoes.

That’s a lot of spuds, but what is someone going to do with them? Throw them? Try and drown someone in mash?

It’s illegal to dress up as Batman and Robin.

Say whaaaaat?!

There must be a reason, but I don’t know what that reason is!

So there you have it, a brief list of strange laws. There are many other weird and wonderful laws out there, from all over the world, but these are the ones to catch my eye. I dare say I could make several blog posts out of them all!

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