Eight Bizarre Laws in Georgia You Won’t Believe

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

There are some truly strange laws in Georgia that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

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"What a strange world we live in," said Alice to the Queen of Hearts.

-- Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

Everywhere has some odd laws that people wonder about when they live there or visit. Sometimes there is a method to the madness and when you find out what it is the law makes sense. Other times it may be a law that made sense a long time ago but doesn’t in the modern era, but it just got left on the books. But then there are some laws that don’t seem to make sense no matter how you look at them. Here are some odd laws in Georgia that will make you wonder.

Odd Georgia Laws

1) Any Injuries Sustained While Riding a Llama are the Responsibility of the Rider (Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 4-12-3)

For all you avid llama riders out there, be sure to take note of this one. If while you are engaging in your beloved past time you get hurt, then you have no one to blame but yourself. In Georgia that is taken literally.

It’s not only riding a llama that you must be careful of though so you need to read up on your legal code related to engaging in “llama activities.” These include “riding, training, assisting in providing medical treatment of, driving, or being a passenger upon a llama, whether mounted or unmounted, or any person assisting a participant or show management.

The term “engages in a llama activity” does not include being a spectator at a llama activity, except in cases where the spectator places himself or herself in an unauthorized area and in immediate proximity to the llama activity.” So if you’re interest in llamas is just as a spectator and you’re trampled by the animal or it spits in your eye, then you have a case.

2) It Is Illegal to Carry Ice Cream in Your Back Pocket on Sunday

This one has to do with trying to prevent stealing. It’s not to prevent stealing ice cream, however, but horses. People would put an ice cream cone in their back pockets in order to lure a horse away. Evidently, using this method to steal horses Monday through Saturday is fair game.

3) In Columbus Georgia, You Cannot Have a Picnic in a Graveyard

Other than members of the Adams family, I can’t imagine too many people are dying to do this. (Sorry, but you had to know I was going there!)

4) You May Have the Right to Commit Simple Battery if Provoked by “Fighting” Words.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Thems fighting words.” Well, now you know where it come from. According the Georgia Law:

“A person charged with the offense of simple assault or simple battery may introduce in evidence any opprobrious or abusive language used by the person against whom force was threatened or used; and the trier of facts may, in its discretion, find that the words used were justification for simple assault or simple battery.”

5) In Athens Georgia You Are Prohibited From Trying to Entice Someone to Enter a Game of Bingo by Giving Them Goldfish.

Just take no for an answer. If they don’t want to play, they don’t want to play.

6) You Can Be Pulled Over and Given a Ticket for Going the Speed Limit on the Highway

Referred to as the “Slowpoke Law”, drivers in the left lane of a highway in Georgia much change lanes or speed up if a faster car approaches them from behind. If you choose to speed up, you must go fast enough so the person behind you can go the speed they choose even if it is 80 miles an hour in a 55 speed limit zone.

I’m sure you’ve figured out why this is such a bizarre law. It’s saying that in some cases if you adhere to the law for the speed limit you are actually breaking the law! It is illegal to speed and you can get a ticket for it but at the same time on highways you can get a ticket for preventing those who want to speed from doing so.

7) In Gainesville, It Is Illegal to Eat Fried Chicken With a Fork

In 1961, Gainesville made it a requirement that you must eat fried chicken with your fingers. This was likely part of a publicity stunt, since the town proclaims itself to be the Poultry Capitol of the World. Put do feel free to use a fork on for your coleslaw and mashed potatoes!

8) In Quitman It Is Illegal for a Chicken to Cross the Road

Probably because they got so sick of being asked why they were doing it, they lobbied for a law to prevent it! Actually, it is illegal to let you chicken wander anywhere.

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And to debunk a rather famous one, if you like your donkey really clean you’re in luck. There isn’t a Georgia law that prohibits you from putting your donkey in a bathtub. However, there is one that requires a local sheriff’s office to milk impounded cows and goats.

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