Test your knowledge of cycling and driving safety
You be the cyclist
1) What does the “2 v. 1” rule say about proper helmet use?
a. Two is better than one: buy two helmets and keep one as a spare
b. The rim of the helmet should sit two finger widths above your eyebrows, the straps should form a “v” that extends below your ears, and you should be able to fit one finger between your chin and strap
c. The rim of your helmet should be one finger width above your eyebrows, the strap should form a “v” beneath your chin, and you should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your ears
d. Before riding, knock twice on your helmet to check for cracks, and give the straps one hard tug
2) You’re cycling in the curb lane of a busy street with no bike lanes, approaching a signalized intersection. There are parked cars in the curb lane on both the near and far side of the intersection. What position should your bike be in as you go through the intersection? a. Stay as far to the right as possible at all times
b. Stay in the middle of the curb lane
c. Dismount from your bike and walk across the crosswalk
d. Keep to the left side of the curb lane
3) You’re riding on a busy road with no bike lanes, and cars parked against the curb. You should:
a. Move to the centre of the middle lane, joining the flow of car traffic
b. Stay as far to the right side as possible
c. Never ride on streets without bike lanes
d. Ride on the sidewalk
4) You’re cycling north in the curb lane and need to make a left-hand turn at an intersection. As you approach the intersection, you should: a. Stay in the curb lane, cross to the north side of the intersection on the green light, stop on the corner, and then when the light changes green in the other direction, ride west
b. It’s illegal for cyclists to make a left turn at an intersection
c. Move from the curb lane into the left turn lane, checking over your shoulder and signalling with your left hand as you move. Wait for a gap in southbound traffic before turning left into the centre lane of the westbound street, check over your right shoulder and signal right before moving into the curb lane
d. Don’t check over your shoulder or signal and ride as fast as you can to the left turn lane in order to beat traffic, then turn left
You be the driver
5) You are making a right turn with a dedicated bike lane parallel and to your right, with hash marks delineating the bike lane from the live traffic nearing the intersection. You should: a. Signal, wait for the light to turn red and when there is a gap in cross traffic
b. Signal, mirror and over-the-shoulder checks for bikes, merge into the empty bike lane and make the turn.
c. Signal, mirror and over-the-shoulder checks for bikes, do not merge into the empty bike lane and make the turn.
d. Never make the turn if bikes are stopped beside you.
6) When approaching and passing cyclists in a live lane with no bike path, you should:
a. Stay in your lane, position your vehicle as close to the outside lane line in order to give the cyclist the most space, without interfering with vehicular traffic to your left.
b. Ensure the lane to the left is clear, accelerate as you would when passing a vehicle on your right, and veer into the left lane until past the cyclist, then resume to your position in the original lane.
c. Stay at least one metre away from the cyclist while passing.
d. Honk your horn.
7) You have just parked on a street and are about to leave the vehicle, you should:
a. Check the rear-view mirror for approaching traffic, and exit when clear.
b. Check the rear-view mirror, open the door halfway, wait a second and then exit.
c. Check the driver’s side mirror for traffic beside you and exit when clear.
d. Check all mirrors, do a shoulder check and exit when clear.
8) Which of the following is true?
a. On roadways, the onus is on pedestrians and cyclists to watch out for larger, faster moving motor vehicles.
b. Motorists should be constantly scanning and expecting the unexpected.
c. A motorist who collides with a cyclist in a vehicle’s “blind spot” is not at fault.
d. Motorists who know the rules of the road always follow those rules when they cycle.
ANSWERS: 1) b
Only cyclists under 18 are required by Ontario law to wear a helmet, but using one can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death for riders of all ages. The catch is that the helmet has to fit correctly. The helmet should be snug enough that when you tilt your head forward and give it a shake, the helmet stays in place even without the straps done up.
According to bicycle safety group Can-Bike, the safest approach is to line yourself up with where you will be after you pass through the intersection, before you enter it. Moving toward the curb could incorrectly signal to motorists that you’re about to turn right, and will force you to merge back toward traffic on the far side of the intersection, potentially causing conflict. Keeping a straight line through the intersection makes your intentions clear to other road users.
“Taking the lane” can be the scariest part of city riding, but according to Can-Bike, it will help keep you safe. Hugging the right side of the lane will keep you too close to parked cars, putting you at risk for getting “doored.” Instead, as you move from the right side of the road to the centre of the traffic lane, look over your left shoulder to make sure it’s safe, signal your movement by extending your left arm for about as long as it takes to say “signal,” and then with both hands on your handle bars merge into the traffic lane and ride in the middle. When it’s safe to do so, look over your right shoulder, signal with your right hand, and move back toward the curb.
4) a or c
Confident cyclists may feel comfortable making a left turn through an intersection as a driver would, but depending on traffic conditions and the skill level of the rider, a two-stage turn as described in answer a is both legal and safe.
“If you’re making a turn, you can go into the bicycle lane to do that,” says Scott Marshall, director of training at Young Drivers of Canada. “But near the end, at the intersection, when you see the bicycle lane has broken lines, that’s the time to do that. But before you do that, you should always check your inside and outside mirrors and a quick glance over your shoulder to make sure there isn’t a cyclist that’s coming up on you. And if there is, you should yield to them before making that turn.”
A metre is the bare minimum, always, says Marshall. “If there’s no bicycle lane, and you’re trying to create that space of at least that metre, keep in mind that cyclists will often move around a sewer grate at any time,” he says. “So give them extra space when you come up to a cyclist — like a lot of extra space — because you can’t predict them, especially when you’re coming up right beside them. The best is if you can do a lane change to avoid the cyclist, and change lanes early.”
Mirror checks, of course, but also a shoulder check, says Marshall. “Use your right hand to open up your left door,” he says. “It turns your body a little bit, allows you to check your mirror. If you make a habit of checking your driver’s side mirror and just a quick glance over your shoulder, you’re going to be able to see if there’s a cyclist coming before you open your door.
“As a driver of a vehicle,” says Marshall, “we should be looking for cyclists that maybe come out of driveways, or between parked vehicles. Not all of them are on the road when they reach the road in front of the vehicle. So, part of that moving your eyes is also to check the crosswalk.”