Are there U.S. states where it is illegal to hitchhike? I have looked around and have not found any site which has substantiated their claims with up to date sources.

  • 13
    As a reminder, one of the expectations of StackExchange is that you demonstrate some initial research effort. For instance, a simple Google search on "hitchhiking legal us" turns up a Hitchwiki, blogs of various sorts, and even a legal information site page on the matter.
    – choster
    Feb 28 '17 at 0:09
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    @choster: many of those sites have unsubstantiated, unsourced, or out-of-date information. Hitchwiki has the information, but buried throughout the website. I compiled all the sourced information all in one place, which I argue is useful.
    – crypdick
    Feb 28 '17 at 0:12
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    You should cite your research and describe why those findings are inadequate. Otherwise, answerers will waste time providing answers based on those easily available sources. This is basic SE courtesy.
    – choster
    Feb 28 '17 at 0:14
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    @choster: Please note that crypdick answered his/her own question a few seconds before your first comment. It's very difficult to show just the right amount of research in a self-answered question -- too little, and it's not clear why the question merits a post here; too much, and the answer itself will be in the question. I think we can cut crypdick a bit of slack if (s)he didn't strike quite the right balance.
    – ruakh
    Feb 28 '17 at 9:22
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    @crypdick: Note that there is an option when asking a question to post an answer simultaneously. It isn't clear here whether you used it or not, but from the reaction of choster it seems you didn't and this created some drama. If you wish to self-answer, I encourage you to use it. Also note that it doesn't dispense from creating a well-formulated question (and yes, it's not easy to balance how much to put in the question...). Feb 28 '17 at 10:37

It varies from state to state.

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Some are legal for it to be done on the shoulder of the road. (green)

Others off the travelled part of the road (eg stand in grass). (yellow)

Others - completely illegal. (red)

Others - unclear. (grey)

There's a map and guide on Hitchwiki indicating the status for each one. This comes from the main USA page on Hitchwiki.

  • 4
    In green states, it's wise to look for "No hitchhiking" signs, which in some states tend to be posted in places where it could commonly interfere with traffic, particularly freeway on-ramps.
    – Dronz
    Feb 28 '17 at 19:45
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    In 20 years in California, I have never seen a hitchhiker. Don't count on getting picked up any time soon. Mar 6 '17 at 16:31
  • @Malvolio have hitched in Cali :) In Los Angeles even. Although this was 16 years ago.
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 6 '17 at 22:28


Source: DEL CODE § 4147

New Jersey

Source: 39:4-59


Source: NRS 484B.297


Source: 49-709


Source: 41_04117

Note: federal laws supersede state laws, and the federal law states that the legality of hitchhiking within national parks is decided by the superintendent of that park (Source: CFR Title 36 section 4.31).

Credit: All the hard work was done by Hitchwiki, I just compiled all the references in one place.

  • 2
    Looking at the map provided by @MarkMayo, it seems Delaware should also have a provision outlawing it.
    – KRyan
    Feb 28 '17 at 19:44
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    Federal laws supersede state laws under certain conditions. The full rules for which laws supersede which is complicated, and probably worthy of a whole series of questions on Law.SE.
    – Mark
    Feb 28 '17 at 21:34
  • Doesn't it just say hitchhiking is illegal on highways? I would think it was easier to catch a ride at a gas station anyway.
    – Lenne
    Mar 1 '17 at 11:46
  • Good catch @KRyan, I've added Delaware
    – crypdick
    Mar 6 '17 at 15:35

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