How well do you know the rules of the road when it comes to interaction between motorists and cyclists? Test yourself with this quick quiz. The correct answers are below and have been checked with Blake Trask of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Guy Gill of the Washington State Patrol, Tony Tipton of Pierce County Parks and Recreation, the Revised Code of Washington and my unpublished/unfinished book “The Encyclopedia of Common Sense.”
1. Can a bicyclist wear headphones?
a. Yes, always.
b. No, especially if they’re listening to Nicki Minaj.
c. It’s OK on trails, but not on the road.
d. As long as one ear is uncovered to listen for traffic.
2. Can a cyclist ever ride on the left side of the road?
b. They are entitled to move left to use turn lanes just like cars.
c. Yes, but it’s acceptable and sometimes safer for them to use sidewalks and crosswalks instead of turn lanes.
d. State law allows cyclists to ride on the left on one-way roads and to take control of a lane if necessary.
3. Are helmets required everywhere in Pierce and Thurston counties?
a. Only in unincorporated Pierce County and some Pierce County cities.
c. There are no helmet laws or ordinances.
d. Not if it messes up your hair.
4. State law says motorists must honk when passing cyclists.
a. True. It’s polite.
b. False. The noise could startle them.
c. No. My responsibility is to give them at least three feet of space when I pass.
d. Only if they’re wearing white spandex.
5. Cyclists are not required to stop at stop signs posted on the Foothills Trail.
a. False. They’re there for a reason.
b. True, but they must stop if there is no marked crosswalk.
6. Can cyclists treat stop signs as yield signs if they arrive first at an intersection?
a. This is allowed in Idaho, but not Washington.
b. Cyclist must come to a complete stop by either placing a foot on the ground or balancing in a stopped position.
c. Stop sign, schmop sign.
d. It’s OK to run a stop sign if you’re wearing a helmet.
7. Can cyclists ride at night while wearing dark or non-reflective clothes?
a. No way. That’s stupid.
b. Yes, but it’s still stupid.
8. Cyclists can ride on the road in areas where bike lanes and paved trails are available.
b. False. Stay off the road.
9. Can cyclists ride on sidewalks?
a. Yes, but they must yield to pedestrians.
b. Yes, it can sometimes be a good alternative for getting out of the way of traffic, but it’s usually safer to be on the road.
c. Yes, state law says cyclists are a vehicle on the road and a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
d. No, it’s not safe.
10. Cyclists can ride side-by-side on the road.
c. Only if they’re filming the bike cop version of “CHiPs.”
d. Yes, but it’s polite and safe to line up single file when cars pass.
11. A group of cyclists at a stop sign can pass through the intersection together.
a. True. It is usually acceptable and it is quite often more efficient, according to WSP trooper Guy Gill.
b. False. Line up and go one at time just like other vehicles.
12. Lights are required for riding your bike at night.
a. True. Bikes must have a white light in front and a red reflector in back.
b. False. Ride at your own risk.