True or False Quiz: Rules of the Road for Bikers

Legal News

The hot weather is back. And bikes are back! Many cyclists don’t know about new rules.  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 some cities, such as Sherbrooke, everyone under 18 must wear a helmet. Contact your city to see if it has rules about helmets.

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

False. Cyclists can never use headphones or earphones, even for one ear. They can’t use hands-free telephones either.

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

3.  If I break the rules, I can get demerit points. 

False. No, you can’t get demerit points. But you can be fined $80 to $100.

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

False. Bike paths are safe. But you don’t have to use one unless a road sign says so.

5.  I must signal when I want to turn.

True, unless it puts you in danger.

The law explains how to signal:

  • 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 (make an “L” with your left arm).

Cyclists don’t have to signal when they want to slow down or stop.

6.  After drinking alcohol, I am not allowed to ride my bike.

False. But 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.

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

There are three exceptions:

  • You are about to make a left turn.
  • A road sign lets you 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.

If your break these rules, the fine is $80 to $100.

8.  I need to have lights on my bike at night. 

True. Your bike must have this equipment:

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

If you break these rules, the fine is $80 to $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 depends. Each 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. If you break these rules, the fine is $30 to $60.

Contact your borough or city for more information.