Answers to the Bicycle Safety Quiz

A few days ago, I posted a quiz sent out by the Minneapolis SAFE email list. At last, we have our answers…

How did I fair? Well, I squeaked by with a 75%. Just goes to show, I obviously have some more reading up to do.

1. Cyclists are required by law to stay as far to the right of a roadway as practical. When can a cyclist legally ride in a regular vehicle lane?

a) If the road surface is blocked by debris or the pavement is damaged.
b) To avoid vehicle doors, which may open unexpectedly.
c) If the road width is too narrow to accommodate both a cyclist and a vehicle.
d) To make a left turn at an intersection or move into a left turn lane.

All are correct. When cyclists are on the road, the law says motor vehicles can pass no closer than 3 feet from a cyclist. Bikers cannot, however, ride more than two abreast and must stay in a single lane.

2. Minnesota law requires cyclists to ride on designated bike paths or trails, if such paths are separate from the regular vehicular roadway. True or false?

False. Bicycles have the same rights to roadways as other traffic–just as sport-utility vehicles aren’t required to drive off-road. It’s also illegal to drive bikes on sidewalks in downtown business districts, unless specifically permitted by local ordinance. With this right, riders also have the legal responsibility to obey traffic laws, stop at stop signs and traffic lights, and yield to pedestrians, etc., just as if you were in a car.

3. At night, Minnesota law requires a bicyclist to have:

a) reflectors on the pedals that are visible from front and rear.
b) a headlight and rear light.
c) a headlight and rear reflector.

Correct answers are a and c. Bikes must have headlights and rear reflectors as well as pedal reflectors. At least 20 square inches of side reflectors are also required. Cycling advocates usually also recommend a flashing red rear light, which is legal under Minnesota law but not in all states.

4. Who has the right of way on an officially designated bike path or bike route, a pedestrian or a bike?

Bikes must yield to pedestrians–not just on bikeways but also in crosswalks, at intersections, on sidewalks and everywhere else. State law also requires cyclists to give an audible warning before passing pedestrians.

5. If a vehicle doesn’t have enough room to safely pass a bicycle…

a) the cyclist is required to pull off the road to make way.
b) the vehicle can pass after honking to warn the cyclist.
c) the motorist must follow at a safe distance until it is safe to pass.

Correct answer is c.

6. While illegal, it’s safer to ride against traffic, on the left shoulder of the road, because you can see approaching vehicles and better avoid them. True or false?

False. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to run into trouble going the wrong way: You can’t see traffic control signs, drivers don’t yield to wrong-way traffic at intersections, and the speed of an approaching vehicle actually gives you less time to react.

The links below will let you access two good websites about bicycle safety issues:

3 Comments so far

  1. Erica (unregistered) on May 25th, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

    I got the one about the lights/reflectors wrong. I had just c, not a and c. I wasn’t sure about the pedal reflectors, because what about people with clips?

  2. Dave Dash (unregistered) on May 26th, 2007 @ 8:00 am

    I guess people with clips are breaking the law ;)

    There’s ways to put reflectors on those pedals too though.

  3. Jonathan Ehrich (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

    I like how for #6 they say “statistically speaking”, then list a bunch of ad hoc reasons to justify the statistics… without ACTUALLY USING ANY STATISTICS to justify their claim. Wankers.

    btb, your links at the end of the post are messed up.

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