True or False Quiz: Rules of the Road for Bikers


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Spring is here, and bikes are back. And there are new rules of the road that apply to cyclists. Helmets, headphones, using the sidewalk … What’s urban legend and what does the law really say?


 1.  I must wear a helmet.



False. The law doesn’t require helmets, but it’s a good idea for safety reasons.

Careful! In the city of Sherbrooke, everyone under 18 must wear a helmet.


2.  I can listen to music with headphones when I'm riding.



False. Since June 30, cyclists are banned from using headphones or earphones, even if just in one ear. Nor can cyclists use hands-free telephone devices.

If you break these rules, the fine is between $80 and $100.



3.  I can get demerit points if I don’t obey the rules.



False. Since May 18, cyclists who break the rules don’t get demerit points. But they can be fined $80 to $100.


 4.  I could be fined if I ride off a bike path.



FalseBike paths are safe. There's no general rule forcing you to use them unless a road sign specifically says so.


5.  I must use signals when I plan to turn.



True, unless it puts another cyclist in danger.

The law explains how to signal your intention:

  • To turn left, put your left arm out horizontally.
  • To turn right, put your right arm out horizontally or turn your left forearm vertically upwards.

Since May 18, cyclists no longer have to signal their intent to slow down or stop.



6.  I can't ride my bike after drinking alcohol. 



FalseBut it is illegal to drink alcohol while you ride.   

Also, the police could ask for someone to accompany you home if you look like you could hurt yourself or someone else. Police officers can also take your bike away until you’re able to ride safely.   

You must always be careful. The law has tough penalties for putting other people's safety at risk. Fines run from $1,000 to $3,000. 


7.  I’m allowed to ride in the middle of the road and on sidewalks.



FalseCyclists must ride as close to the right of the road as possible and in the same direction as traffic.

There are three exceptions: 

  • You are about to make a left turn.
  • A road sign allows you to ride against traffic.
  • If it’s necessary, for example, to avoid danger. 

Also, cyclists can ride between two lines of moving cars if the right lane is reserved for turning.

The fine for breaking these rules is between $80 and $100. 


8.  I can ride without lights at night.



False. Your bike must have this equipment:

  • 6 reflectors at the front and back and on wheels and pedals
  • at night, a white light at the front and a red light at the back 

The fine for breaking these rules is between $80 and $100.

The website of the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec shows where these accessories must be installed .




 9.  I can attach my bike to city property (lampposts, etc.) and trees.   



It dependsEach borough or city makes its own rules about this. 

In some Montreal boroughs, you can't attach a bike to a tree or other city property. 

Contact your borough or city for more information.