Yes, Sometimes The Law Is An Ass
Charles Dickens was the first to say “the law is an ass” in Oliver Twist. That’s “ass” as in stubborn stupid donkey, not the American word for what you sit on. Since Dickens’ day, many folk have had good reason to agree.
Like the Brisbane man who recently left his car parked with a window down three centimetres on a hot day to let the air inside escape. He came back to find police had fined him $44. It is illegal not to secure your vehicle, that is leave it unlocked or with windows down if you venture more than three metres away. To do otherwise would encourage theft.
Or the motorcyclist cruising along the highway who stretches out one leg. The cops were on to him in a flash and fined him a whopping $146 for “failure to keep both feet on the footrest”.
Remember that bloke who brought a smile to everyone who saw him riding his motorbike with his little dog in goggles and leather helmet sitting on the petrol tank in front of him, ears streaming happily in the wind? Well you can’t see him any more. He got pulled up and heavily fined. It is illegal to ride a bike with a pet or child between the handlebars.
Leave your fog lights on after the mist or smoke has gone and bingo – another fine. Honk that car in front holding up traffic – pull over for a fine. Flash oncoming traffic if you see a speed trap waiting for them and you could be the one paying the fine. Interrupt a procession of cars all with their lights on and you commit an offence. It could be a VIP or a funeral.
Road rules aren’t the only place for questionable rules and regulations.
Sell eggs from your backyard chooks to a friend and you could be fined unless you get them stamped by an egg authority. For some long forgotten reason in South Australia it’s illegal to sell a boat on Sundays.
Plans are afoot to drop some of the more asinine and outdated laws from the statute books. It’s true sometimes the law is indeed an ass, but laws are made and administered by humans and people will always try to find a way around the ones they don’t like.
Take the new Sydney city liquor laws – publicans can sell four drinks a head just before they have to stop serving at 3am. That gets customers through to 5am when the new day starts, defeating the whole purpose of the tougher laws.