11 of the Strangest California Road Rules

Elephants must be on a leash in San Francisco

Do you plan on driving in California? Whether you are a visitor to California or have lived in the state your entire life, here are some California road rules you should know about before getting behind the wheel and cruising on California roads.

1. Women can’t wear housecoats when they drive. You may think you can just throw on your robe and get behind the wheel to drive your kids to school for an early morning drop-off. Better think again. It is illegal in the entire state for women to drive while wearing a housecoat. There is no law against driving in your pajamas, in your bathing suit, in your sweatpants, in your whatever — so women, you do have options.

2. It is illegal to shoot an animal from your car. Unless it’s a whale. Then, although not illegal to shoot it from your car, shooting whales is against the law. So, while you are not shooting animals from your car, be sure you are also not shooting whales.

3. Do not shoot rabbits from your car. In San Diego, which must follow the state law against shooting animals from your car, it is specifically illegal to shoot rabbits from the back of the car.

4. Peacocks have the right-of-way in Arcadia. Watch out for those pesky peacocks in Arcadia. They have the right-of-way on all roads and driveways. No word on how peahens or any other animals are expected to cross the street. Apparently, they are just supposed to look both ways and take their chances like everybody else.

5. Keep your elephants on a leash. In San Francisco, it is illegal to walk your unleashed elephant down Market Street. If your elephant balks at the leash, just take a quick jog one block south of Market Street and use Mission Street where there is no law at all applicable to elephant walking.

Elephants must be on a leash in San Francisco

6. Keep your camel off Palm Canyon Drive. In Palm Springs, you may not walk your camel down Palm Canyon Drive between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. Even on a leash. If you find yourself with your camel walking on Palm Canyon at 4 p.m., it might be a good time for you and your camel to rest at an outdoor café. Maybe have an afternoon drink and kill time until 6 o’clock when the two of you can resume your Palm Canyon stroll.

7. In Hollywood, keep your sheep herd off Hollywood Boulevard. That law comes with the caveat that it applies only to a herd of more than 2,000 sheep. Apparently, you could drive 1,999 sheep down the Boulevard without violating any law.

Herd of sheep on Hollywood Boulevard in California - Strange road rules

8. In Chico, keep your cattle herd off the street. This ordinance refers to a herd of cattle with no mention of how many cows make up a herd. Two? Four? 17? 50? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a herd as “a typically large group of animals of one kind kept together under human control.” How many cows make up a large group? This ordinance may be too vague to pass constitutional muster. (A statute may be void for vagueness when the law does not state explicitly what conduct is punishable.)

9. Do not jump from or into a car in Glendale. Well, to be fair, that is only if the car you are jumping from or jumping into is traveling at 65 mph. Apparently, it is okay to car-jump if the car you are jumping from or jumping into is going any other speed, say 64 mph or 66 mph. No word on whether you can receive two citations for the same jump. For example, if you jump from a car that is traveling at 65 mph into a car that is also traveling 65 mph, will that conduct result in you receiving two citations?

10. The speed limit for an unoccupied vehicle is 60 mph. That’s right. An unoccupied vehicle. We have all heard about self-driving cars, but unoccupied cars on roadways? It seems 60 mph may be a little excessive for an unoccupied car to go careening down the highway, but the law is the law.

11. In Eureka, do not use a road as a bed. You may be tired, having trouble focusing and keeping your eyelids open. But if you are in Eureka, it is illegal to use the road as a bed. Surely you can find an off-road garden, yard, or maybe even the shoulder of the road to take your nap. Just keep your warm body from lying down in the middle of the road itself. If you are in Eureka. Only against the law in Eureka.

Posted By
Richard G
Richard has been working in the personal injury law space for nearly a decade.

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