By August 18, 2009

Motorcycle safety perception and US road sign quiz

I ride almost fifty miles round trip on my motorcycle every day for work. As I motor alongside cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians, and other road trash I often think about putting together a “how to not crash in traffic” series of posts. The problem is filming my trips and then being “lucky” enough to have something noteworthy happen. I do have a remote lipstick-style camera for my camcorder but it can only mount in one direction unless I ruin a helmet by sticking it on with adhesive. I would miss capturing lane intrusions, the most prevalent thing I run into.

Anyway, I was excited to take a two-part safety test put on by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The first part is a ten question US road sign quiz. On medium speed, a road sign flashed up for about a second. You are given three possible answers and asked to identify the sign. You can guess twice for each question, losing one point per incorrect guess.

The second part of the test is a ten question “safety perception” quiz. You are shown a photograph of a traffic situation for five seconds. Like the traffic sign test, you are given three possible answers. The problem is that you don’t know what they will ask ahead of time.

This is a stupid way to run a quiz. For example, check out this example photo:

Okay, after five seconds, what were the top two or three things you fixated on? To me, I saw the car on the right possibly pulling out across two lanes into me to “get ahead” of the cars approaching the light. I anticipated the black car in the middle lane squirting out to the left to make a similar break. I also noted a slight rise in the road before the railroad tracks. This rise combined with a (potential) uneven railroad track surface would make me slow down more than usual.

The question posed by the MSF?

Here you notice that:

  1. Traffic is speeding up.
  2. There is no escape on the left.
  3. A train is about to cross the highway.


Uh, I guess “b” is important, but none of those things were what I was really looking out for. Furthermore, just acknowledging the lack of an escape on the left doesn’t help you avoid an accident at all. If the black car moves completely over left, I’d have to slide into its place to avoid an accident. To me, a better situation would be “The black car in the middle lane moves suddenly into the left lane. What do you do?”

Anyway, the quiz is better than nothing, even if some of the questions (and answers) are weird. There were some bum questions in the sign portion as well.

I got 17/20 on the sign test, and 18/20 on the safety perception test. What did you get?

Posted in: motorcycling

4 Comments on "Motorcycle safety perception and US road sign quiz"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Sideout says:

    19/20 on the sign test medium speed
    16/20 on the sign test fast speed
    20/20 on the collision test medium speed
    18/20 on the collision test fast speed

  2. Andrew says:

    I agree with you on the road hazard test. First question – you’re in the right lane, and a white SUV is making a right turn out of a parking lot in front of you. The test insists that, while slowing down is an OK idea, you should move into the left lane. I think that assumes that the SUV is not going to shoot across one or more lanes of traffic when it pulls out of the lot. The only time I’ve ever been in a car crash was a situation just like question 1, and the car turning out of the parking lot made a wild-ass *left* turn, cut the turn too short, and slammed into me in the left lane.

    17/20 on the sign test
    15/20 on the collision test

  3. Ed says:

    Straight 16/20s, fear me on the road. FEAR ME!

  4. roclar says:

    20/20 on the sign test on medium speed. Seemed pretty slow to me and more of a sign comprehension quiz rather then a speed test.

    15/20 on the collision test on medium speed. Anybody who has seen me drive is probably shocked I broke double digits. So am I.