The bike experts at the League of American Bicyclists recommend you do five things to increase your safety while riding a bike: 1) follow the laws, 2) be predictable, 3) be visible, 4) think ahead, and 5) be ride ready. Let’s focus on the first one, follow the laws. How can you refresh and grow your knowledge of traffic laws? If you live in Illinois, one way to acquaint yourself with rules of the road is take the Bike Safety Quiz.
The Bike Safety Quiz was developed by Ride Illinois, the state wide bicycle education and advocacy organization that has the mission of “Making Illinois Better Through Cycling.” Dave Simmons, the Executive Director, spoke at a virtual meeting of the Chicago Cycling Club on Tues., March 9, 2021 to provide an update on the quiz. He reported that since the quiz’s inception in 2013, over 125,000 people have taken it to learn more about bike safety on the road.
The Bike Safety Quiz has versions customized for 4 audiences:
The Adult Cyclist, Child Cyclist, and Motorist versions are currently available in Spanish. The Illinois driver’s test consists of a database of 400 questions as the basis for each individually presented test and this database currently includes 4 cycling questions.
Each version of the quiz is online and interactive, using a challenge-feedback format that presents a question followed by multiple choice options for an answer. You select the answer you think is best and then receive immediate feedback if your answer is correct. If you answered incorrectly, the software provides the correct answer and a short explanation why it is the best answer. You then get another chance to answer that question correctly so that for each question you answer incorrectly, it is displayed again up to three times. There is no penalty for an incorrect answer since the test rewards learning, not knowledge. As you work your way through the questions, the plan is that eventually you will have answered all the questions correctly. For the adult cyclist quiz, there are a total of 35 multiple choice questions, 10 in the first, or bronze level, 13 in the silver level, and 12 in the gold level. Once you reach the gold level, you are done!
On the left is an example of one of the questions from the quiz, asking about bicyclist's rights and responsibilities.
The correct answer is the last one, option 4. If you select one of the other answers, the software will respond with an explanation why that is not correct by saying cyclists have the same rights as motorists and must follow the same rules with certain exceptions. Same rights, same rules. The question will appear in the feed again, up to three times, with the options in a different order so you still have to read them in order to get credit for selecting the correct answer.
Some of the more interesting questions on the quiz that not everyone may know about are:
* Lane positioning - In what lane is the safest for a cyclist be as they approach an intersection with various configurations such as a right, left turn lane, two way street, one way street, etc. Generally the cyclists should be in the right most lane based on the direction they are traveling.
* Riding two abreast - Riding side by side with a friend is allowed when it does not imped traffic, but common sense dictates that if this blocks thru traffic, you should revert to single file and leave the socializing to a rest stop.
* Bike light requirements - A front white light and either a rear red light or reflector is required at nightfall.
* What to do when the traffic lanes are narrow - If there is not enough room for a motorist and cyclist to ride side by side, the cyclist is legally entitled to take the lane and force the motorist to wait behind until the lane becomes wider.
* Signaling - Hand signals are similar in function to an auto's turn signals and brake lights and communicate your intentions.
The questions and answers in the quiz were all approved by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and they cover situations that often occur while cycling on road, off road, bike handling skills, common mistakes, and relevant laws with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving cyclists.
Besides being used by individuals, the test is designed to be used by schools, after school programs, scouts, driver’s education programs and any public education purpose. The quiz has been licensed to five other states so they can customize it with their laws. While you can study legislation and take in-depth bike safety classes, the Bike Safety Quiz fills a niche of supplying a little knowledge to a lot of people. It is bike education for the masses! Check it out today: www.bikesafetyquiz.com
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories