Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why is Hitchhiking Illegal in Wyoming?

This Letter to the Editor was published yesterday by JH Weekly:


Why is Hitchhiking Illegal in Wyoming?

I have hitchhiked through Jackson many times over the years. I have met some very friendly people as I have hitchhiked over Teton Pass, north to Moran Junction or south towards Pinedale. But why is hitchhiking illegal in Wyoming?

In September of 2009, I was camped out south of Riverton. The local police were driving by and noticed my tent by the river. They stopped and asked for my ID. They ran a check on my ID and told me that I had a bench warrant for my arrest. I asked them what the bench warrant was for. They said it was from an unpaid hitchhiking ticket. The fine was $60.00; I had 50 bucks on me.

They handcuffed me and drove me to the jail in Riverton. They asked me if I knew someone who could help out with the last 10 bucks of my fine. I gave them a phone number of a friend of mine. I spent a half hour in the Riverton holding pen till my friend arrived to help pay the rest of the fine.

I have no complaints with the Riverton police: they were friendly, professional and helpful. I can see why hitchhiking would be illegal on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles because it is so crowded with fast-moving traffic. But Wyoming? Wyoming is the most sparsely-populated state in the Union. Some people in various parts of this planet hitchhike just to get to work.

Is hitchhiking illegal because it is potentially dangerous? So isn't rock climbing, scuba diving and surfing. People get killed skiing, coal miners get killed, lumberjacks get killed. Most people die in bed. You're going to die eventually, so get used to it. Life is risk.

If anyone is interested in my life of hitchhiking (I have been hitchhiking for most of 14 years now), you can go to the Victor, Idaho public library and read my book High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America.

Support your local hitchhiker.

--Tim Shey, hitchhiker

JH Weekly
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
December 1-7, 2010
Volume 8, Issue 50

[As of 2013, it is now LEGAL to hitchhike in Wyoming]

My First Time in Jail for Hitchhiking

Tim Shey Hitchhiking in Western Wyoming
A Conversation with a Deputy Sheriff in Fremont County, Wyoming

Wyoming Bill Would Legalize Hitchhiking
Bill Would Legalize Hitchhiking in State 
Hitchhiking Bill Passes
Hitchhiking Stories from Digihitch


  1. I can't possibly imagine why hitchhiking is illegal there...but it gives me a possible idea for one of my States of the Union sonnets. Thanks.

  2. That's insane! we've never been arrested for hitchhiking. Good story, though!