Laws are good. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Many people today are very vocal of their aversion to structured authority, and often make a vehement public display of it. While everybody is entitled to their own opinions (and you can sure bemoan the police if you want to), acting like you can do without them is a ridiculous notion for even fools entertain.
Without the police helping to keep the peace, it's easy to imagine we'd go right back to the LA riots in about 15 seconds, and chaos would likely plague cities in ways you’d never even think it could. As a complex and intricate society, we need guidelines and rules so that we can continue to thrive in our bustling cities packed to the brim with almost more people than can be accommodated.
But sometimes laws can be questionable, sometimes they can be silly, and other times they can be so outdated (having never been modified or taken off the books) that they're just downright unnecessary. As fine as our neighbors to the north are, they too are guilty of keeping legislature on their books that has no business being enforced, ever.
Sometimes, they're in the interest of safety, sometimes they're provisioned to keep pesky whippersnappers in check. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that maybe someone should have a second look at them. Don’t think this is a comprehensive list, rather just a light scrape off the surface of a deep well of nonsense from the inefficient bureaucratic bodies that control our lives.
19 No Downhill Fuel Saving Allowed
Actually, it’s probably less about fuel savings and more rooted in the logic surrounding the conclusion of an investigation into a completely absurd accident that could easily have been avoided. You know, those accidents where somebody is caught on security cam being so lackadaisical about safety that they do something worthy of a hilarious internet list?
Now, the world is full of mostly good drivers and they don’t need more rules to crowd the already-bulging codebook.
But there’s always that guy; he’s the reason they took bonfires off the beaches, he’s the reason McDonald's has to warn you that a cup of coffee could actually be scalding hot, and he’s the reason we can’t coast down a little grade in neutral. That’s actually a thing that you legally cannot do. How they enforce this eludes me, but someone put the law on the books anyway.
18 Never Sell Your Car
This next travesty of enforcement awards goes to only the most deserving of enforcement officials (the term officials being a generous stretch of wordplay). You know those guys that ride around in metropolitan cities with a flashing beacon on their Segways?
You know the ones, they carry those little revenue-generating, carbon-copy notepads always at the ready.
In an incident that has been circumnavigating the internet, meter maids have reportedly cited one Toronto woman’s car for displaying a for sale sign in the window when it was parked on the street in front of her apartment. The violation has since been reportedly appealed successfully, but the debacle is a gleaming example of a brilliant fail for the parking police.
17 Quebec In General
Upon entering Quebec, you may or may not notice the minute differences between it and the other surrounding provinces. The powers that be in Quebec do not like cheaters, and those of you who take the gas-station shortcut to avoid a red light are in violation of a law that prohibits cutting through private property to avoid a traffic control device. They also prohibit left-lane driving unless you’re overtaking another car, and you cannot leave a child under seven unattended inside a vehicle, for safety obviously. Seven years and one day? You can leave ‘em in there with the engine running all day long like it ain’t no thing.
16 Drive-Thru Texting Will Cost More Than A Cheeseburger
First of all, what a McLaren is doing in a McDonald's drive-thru is the first thing I want to address. If you’re taking a McLaren through a drive-thru you should be cited, not for texting but for wasting the wear and tear on a supercar so you can get your McDouble and a Frappe when you could be shredding rubber down a side street somewhere. All of my personal opinions and two cents aside, the fact is that most places, according to Globe and Mail, open you up to the risk of ticketing if caught texting while driving, private property or not. Legally, I’m not sure how that holds up in court, but cases have been documented of such instances nonetheless and you don’t want to be that guy.
15 Don't Even Think About It!
I’m not sure if it’s the old urge where you want what you just can’t have, but prior to hearing about his law, never once in my life have I ever felt even the slightest inkling to saddle up a trusty steed (that I do not have) and bolt furiously down the carpool lane racing motorized traffic. Now, though, I do secretly hope to come across a man racing his horse furiously down the highway because I’d like to see the difference between ‘furiously racing’ and regular racing. The law says no ‘furiously racing’ of animals, but it never said anything about regular racing. Maybe I found the loophole?
14 Definitely No Whistling
No happiness allowed, and definitely no whistling! Ok, so the first part I made up, there is no law in Canada against happiness. However, based on the close relationship that whistling and happiness seem to share, this one might make you wonder.
There are parts of Canada that don’t condemn innocent acts of joy but Petrolia, Ontario, isn’t one of them.
Best be keeping your happiness in check in Petrolia. A city rep explained this was only to limit excessive nose between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., but really? According to Reader’s Digest, Article 3, 772.3.6 reads: “Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing is prohibited at all times.”
13 No Bike Sirens In Sudbury, Ontario
Are you ready for another one of your childhood dreams to crumble before your eyes? Here’s yet another dream-killer: Sudbury, Ontario does not allow, condone, invite nor tolerate any form of bicycle-mounted, noise-making apparatus that in any way, shape or form can resemble a siren through its usage. Be it one of those nifty, wheel-driven zingers that attach to your forks with a bracket and a chain that you pull into your tire or a new-fangled electronic module, adults letting kids be kids is apparently not a personality trait embodied by the governing committees. What will they think of next?
12 The Number Of Bells On A Sleigh
We’re a contemporary society and highly-modernized levels of technological integration are a part of our lives. A governed body of people must work to keep our legislature abreast of current and ever-changing conditions so it can effectively work to serve the people’s best interest. Now, I’m not sure how culturally different our friends to the north really are, but I doubt they’re firing up their daily commuters with hand cranks underneath the radiator. I have to question the relevance of a law that actually stipulates how many bells your sleigh must be equipped with, but at some time in history, there was a real need to make sure you had the proper number of bells on your sled. In case you were wondering, the answer is two of them.
11 Cab Drivers Must Wear Clothes...But Other People Don't Have To
So the laws don’t regulate what you wear in any capacity, aside from maybe one roundabout rationale: you may be found guilty of a negligent something or another if the outfit you happen to be wearing, in some way, hinders your ability to safely operate your motor vehicle.
Other than that, everything's fair game.
Cabbies, however, are not so fortunate. Fashion police are real in Halifax, it seems, where their regional municipality’s list of bylaws for taxis and limousines require that operators “must wear shoes and socks, keep their clothing in clean conditions at all times, and refrain from wearing a t-shirt,” according to goauto.com.
10 No Bumper Surfing
I’m not even sure where this one came from, but it was probably the 80s shortly after coming back from a certain movie about time-traveling technology that we’ll never actually live long enough to see. As it stands, there is actual legislation that prohibits the hanging of people off the bumper or any other exterior part of a moving vehicle “by any attachment.” Section 240(1) of the Traffic Safety Act of Saskatchewan states: “No person on a highway shall directly or by any attachment hold onto a moving vehicle other than the one in which the person is riding.” If you’re reading this list and watching childhood dreams die by the dozen, you’re not alone.
9 More Like Guidelines
You know you’re already checking your social media feeds while finding that song on your phone to play through the Bluetooth. Then you’ll check Google maps to make sure you’re still on track. Why dedicate all your attention to other things, like, for example, your surroundings? This is especially true in Ontario, where visual indicators for things such as lanes and other demarcations, those are pretty much just rough guidelines. According to Globe and Mail: "In Ontario, lane markings generally serve an advisory or warning function and by themselves do not possess any legal force." So it's perfectly fine to ride your whip right down that line all the way to your exit like a rebel.
8 Flashing Lights Is Just Annoying
Whether it was a movie (because Hollywood is realistic, right?) or an internet troll (because lies on the internet are scarce and seldom), certain segments of the population seem to have been misled into thinking that, if you want to go faster than the people in front of you, flashing your high beams at them will make them move along. People may move, but that’s because nobody wants your tailgating jalopy anywhere near their car and you're annoying them even if you weren’t doing that. Stop flashing the lights and stop using your brights in the city, period! The people that do this are literally causing legislative bodies to scrutinize headlight glare.
7 Speaking Of Flashing
As for the flashing lights, the people behind you aren’t the only thing to be on the lookout for. You may have a surprise waiting for you worse than a set of high beams in your rear view if you’re not up to speed on this next zinger.
In B.C. and the Yukon, a flashing green may not quite mean what you’re used to.
In my locale, it would mean: what am I supposed to do here (literally the thought surging through my brain). But B.C. and the Yukon are a bit more graceful in their interpretation: it changes when a pedestrian pushes the button. Also to warn that opposing traffic has a stop sign. For most of the world, green lights and warning signs are not homogenous concepts, at least the last time I checked.
6 Honk. All The Time!
Ok maybe not all of the time, but pretty much most of the time, you should be leaning into your horn. In fact, you should be pounding that mechanical little plastic button on your steering wheel so much there’s a wear hole from your palm where you grind it in.
Why all the truculent aural signaling as you barrel down the road?
Well, as in some other isolated locations of Canada, Prince Edward Island law states that you must use the horn while overtaking a car—literally, every time you pass. It’s one of those little-enforced regulations few people even know about anymore, but it’s still on the books because nobody has ever repealed it yet. Technically, failing to sound your horn as you pass slower traffic is a traffic violation.
5 Honk Even When Backing Up
Speaking of that saucy Prince Edward Island segment of the driving populous, they aren’t supposed to even limit honking to forward motion. Technically, you are supposed to sound your horn upon reversal into or out of a parking stall. Driving instructor Wayne McFarlane enforces the code—to his student’s embarrassment—as he has them all practice this technicality while learning, according to CBC. He says this behavior is odd to them because nobody wants to draw attention to themselves. Naturally, as a student driver, it’s understandable; you suck at driving anyway, and now you’re forced to broadcast an advanced maneuver that you’re probably no good at in the first place.
4 Driving Barefoot
The internet comes with some funny side effects to go along with all that efficiency that bolsters our daily lives. Some of the biggest lies of the century have been allowed to perpetuate throughout the ranks of the internet at breakneck speed as we read and pass along information more than we fact-check.
Such was the case a while back with internet rantings of a notorious law that required you to wear footwear while operating your motor vehicle.
This is untrue, and in reality, you can drive in whatever you want,and I mean whatever you want. You can barrel down the highway crossing lines left to right, honking and flashing everybody stark-raving naked. That’s perfectly acceptable if you were to get technical (attempt at own risk).
3 No Tint
So Canada’s relationship to the equator is a bit more distant in terms of latitude, and the climate reflects this. Nice, cool days and a gentle climate, a far cry from the blazing ball of fire that burns over the Arizona desert.
Why is this important? Well, it’s probably not.
But if I had to venture a guess, I’d say it’s a factor that has influenced why five provinces, including B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, do not allow window tint, at all, on the front windows. This is a ‘try at your own risk’ type of deal, and many people do actually install tint-jobs, while only a few get popped every now and then.
2 Runners Up
There are also plenty of other interesting laws that it would take a lifetime to explore, and then another lifetime to try to understand the why behind the law. Sometimes, it’s a nuisance that must be squelched, other times it’s a safety issue no longer relevant. Some examples: Quebec will not let you block your own driveway while British Columbia does not allow parked cars to roll the windows down further than the width of a hand. And New Brunswick has an archaic law still on the books that makes absolutely no sense: “Driving on the roads is not allowed.” Keep that one in mind next time you visit Canada, maybe a Mountie can clarify for you.
1 No Hovering
Okay, so you can’t technically hover—even though all of you have always wished you could ever since the impossible concept emerged in Back to the Future. In the film, Marty finds an alternate future oozing with high tech gadgets that make our modern-2018 world look like a bunch of knuckle-dragging savages toting clubs around.
Our rendition of the technology happens to be a gyroscopic toy that rests your weight precariously on one self-balancing axle.
Of note is the fact that it doesn’t even really hover. What it does do however, is catch on fire. Toronto, Vancouver, and a growing list of other provinces already ban them on this premise. I suspect they felt just as cheated as the rest of us by what a hoverboard actually is.