By Richard Dye
Snowball throwers beware. Next time you”re tempted to throw a snowball, look to see who is watching because you”re violating Provo law.
There are many laws on the books that might surprise you; some are common sense while others seem downright silly.
Here”s a look at the laws you should know and others you might want to know.
Provo Municipal Code
Stop that snowball – It”s a misdemeanor to “willfully or carelessly throw any stone, stick, snowball or other missile that shall hit” or break a window or other property, in such a manner that it frightens or annoys.
No roaming dogs or flying arrows – It”s illegal to let your dog run free in the city park, nor can you “play or practice golf,” or “shoot or otherwise propel arrows.”
Clinging to vehicles – “No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any streetcar or vehicle upon a roadway.”
Curfew – It”s against the law to be in a city park between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on “foot, or horseback or any type of vehicle.”
No fowls gone wild – It”s illegal for “the owner or any person in charge of domestic fowl, such as turkeys, ducks, geese or chickens to permit such fowl to trespass upon the premises of another.”
Hold your horses – It”s illegal to ride your horse or other animal carelessly or recklessly so as to endanger others” lives, limbs or property, or at a greater rate than 10 mph within the city limits.
Watch those nails – Don”t throw, deposit, or place upon any public street “nails, tacks, crockery, scrap iron, tin, wire, bottles, glass, boxes, wood, boards, stones, thorns, or thorny clippings, or thorny branches of trees or bushes,” or other articles that are likely to puncture or injure the tire of any vehicle.
Turn down that phonograph – “It shall be unlawful to operate, play or cause to be operated or played in a city park or in a motor vehicle located in a city park or parked on a road adjacent to a city park, any radio, television, phonograph, stereo, tape player, disk player or other similar device which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to be audible beyond the boundaries of the park.”
Don”t break that branch -“It shall be unlawful to injure or destroy a tree on the city tree planting strips, public parks or other public property of the city by any means,” including posting a sign on any tree.
Get that bike licensed – “No person shall ride or propel any bicycle on any public place unless and until such cycle shall have been licensed. The fee for a bicycle license shall be $1.00.”
Honk, honk, beep, beep -“Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.”
No riding after dark – It”s illegal to go bike riding, skateboarding or roller-skating after dark [half hour after sunset] unless “the user is properly equipped with reflective material of sufficient size and reflectivity.”
Plow that sidewalk – It”s illegal for the “owner, tenant or lessee of property to fail or refuse to remove snow or ice from the sidewalks contiguous to said property at any time that the average snow depth exceeds one (1) inch, or when snow or ice on the sidewalk presents an unreasonably dangerous condition.”
No child left alone – It”s against the law to leave any child under 6 unattended in a vehicle for more than 10 minutes.
Roadblock – It”s illegal for any vehicle, construction equipment or “device of a similar nature to preempt the use of a sidewalk for a period of more than five minutes.” A train can”t block the street for more than 15 consecutive minutes.
Utah State Law
Not in neutral – It”s illegal to coast downhill with gears or transmission in neutral.
Lasers – Pointing lasers at moving vehicles or their occupants, or a law enforcement officer, is against the law.
Don”t hurt that road sign – It”s a misdemeanor to maliciously move or injure a milepost, milestone, or guidepost erected upon a highway, or any inscription on them.
No WMD”s – It”s against the law to cause a catastrophe by using a weapon of mass destruction, or explosion, flood, fire, avalanche, collapse of building, or other harmful or destructive for or substance.
Biters beware – No biting allowed in ultimate fighting matches.
Orem Municipal Code
No standing up – It”s illegal for a driver to “operate any vehicle while any person is standing in the vehicle.”
Don”t avoid that light – It”s illegal for a driver to “drive over or upon any private property, such as a service station, fruit stand, parking lot, vacant lot or similar area to avoid obedience to any authorized traffic regulation.”
No tracking mud – It”s illegal for the “driver of any vehicle to track mud or dirt onto a public street. Upon notification by the City of any violation of this section, the violator shall within 12 hours clean the street or shall be liable to the City for the costs of doing so.”
Disposal of dead animals – It”s illegal “for the owner or custodian of any animal that shall die or be killed within the limits of the City to fail to dispose of or bury the carcass of such animal within 10 hours after its death, provided that no horse, cow, ox or other large animal shall be buried within the City limits.”
Female dogs in heat – “Any owner or custodian of any female dog in heat shall, in addition to restraining such dog from running at large, cause such dog to be constantly confined in a building or secure enclosure so as to prevent it from coming into contact with other dogs and creating a nuisance, except for planned breeding.”
What the cities have to say about it
George Stewart, former Provo mayor and the current chairman of the Provo City Council, said there was a need for these seemingly frivolous laws in the past.
For example, the law about not damaging trees is to protect city property. It costs money to repair or replace damaged property, he said. The law benefits everyone.
With regards to the snowball law, Stewart said, “It”s dangerous; I”m sure that will stay on the books.”
On the no-mud law, Richard Manning, the Orem assistant city manager, said the police could enforce this law for all drivers, but that it would be very unlikely. The primary focus is on vehicles from construction sites and the site itself, he said.
Manning said that female dogs in heat are a nuisance and disturb the public: that”s why there”s a law regulating them. The proper and prompt disposal of dead animals is for health reasons, Manning said.
But what about all the laws regarding horses and livestock … is there any reason to keep them around?
“The council annually goes through the process of updating laws and we are currently updating some laws now,” Stewart said.
So, all you law breakers out there beware: no mud, no arrows, and definitely no snowballs.