This is a list of strange laws on the books in various municipalities across California. These rules and regulations were passed by the California state legislature, or in an individual city, and for one reason or another, were never overturned, remaining active on the books until this day. Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned, and even nonsensical laws, and they can come about for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, the laws appeared in the books following a court ruling on a specific case, that then set a common law precedent from that point on.
Strange or unnecessary laws have become a popular source for humor, both online and in popular culture. TV shows such as The Simpsons have had a lot of fun with all of the peculiar regulations on the books throughout the country (in one episode, Mayor Quimby is surprised to find out the town charter mandates that all ducks wear long pants).
Oftentimes, "dumb laws," as reported on websites and in humor books, have been shown to be inaccurate. This sometimes happens because a real, sensible law has been exaggerated or misunderstood, turning into something that sounds silly or ridiculous. Other times, it is simply the result of a hoax being repeated enough times to gain some kind of credibility. If you think any of the laws on this page are not accurate or do not remain active in California, let me know in the comments below.
Detonating a nuclear device
Detonating a nuclear device within city limits is illegal. (Chico)
Vehicle without a driver
No vehicle without a driver may exceed 65 miles per hour.
Lizard in a city parkNo one may annoy a lizard in a city park. (Fresno)
Keeping a rhinocerosAll persons wishing to keep a rhinoceros as a pet must obtain a $100 license first. (Norco)
Going to the bathroom with the window openOne may not use one’s own restroom if the window is open. (Dana Point)
Salting the roadIt is illegal to pour salt on a highway. (Hermosa Beach)
Wearing high heelsWomen may not wear high heels while in the city limits. (Carmel)
BathhousesBathhouses are against the law.
Putting anything else in the garageCars are the only item allowed in a garage. (Long Beach)
Pinball machinesPinball machines are outlawed, as well as mock horse racing games. (El Monte)
Carrying a lunchOne may not carry a lunch down the street between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Riverside)