Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If You Were Riding the Bicycle #5 - Can a Hook be Right?

Most cyclists are familiar with what is commonly known as the "right hook". It happens when a car overtakes you and turns right either immediately in front or on top of you. Right hooks are bad.

The arrival of bike lanes in most cities makes the right hook situation worse for the cyclists who remain in the lane at intersections. If my intention is to go straight or left, I will take the lane for this reason. However, if my intention is to turn right myself, I will usually stay in the bike lane. I've tried taking the lane for right hand turns and for me, the potential of a cyclist coming up from behind on my right in the bike lane remains worse than staying in it myself. It seems to me that taking the lane sets me up to right hook a fast bike lane thru cyclist. That isn't very clear. Picture time!

Basically, I prefer this:

Over This:

Please note that in either scenario, I clearly signal my intention well in advance by sticking my right arm straight out. I know ahead of time that the merits of my thinking and riding in this way will be up for dispute, and that's cool, but I am unlikely to be convinced that my way is wrong. I have experimented with both methods and I'm sticking with this one.

So far this has mostly been a re-hash of a  previous "If You Were Riding the Bicycle" post. The difference this time is that I have some video of a right turn that felt fine to me despite the "right hookiness" of it all:

If you were riding the bicycle, would you be OK with that car? I was... it seemed abundantly clear to me that we both knew precisely what we were doing. Is it more difficult to sense intention and automotive "body language" when watching a video?  Perhaps. What do you think? 

Yer Pal,


Oldfool said...

I would as there appears to be plenty of room for safety although I would consider the driver a discourteous ass. I am assuming, of course, that the driver is aware of the bicycle which is not likely.

christopheru said...

Seeing as you were turning right, and that you said you indicated such, and that the driver swung wide and made his/her turn well ahead of you, I would have no problem with it. The positioning of the car indicates to me that the driver knew you were there and assumed that you were doing what you said you were doing.
That said, if you had not signaled a turn and started to set it up in advance, and were going through, then I would have a problem with it.

GreenComotion said...

I am probably okay with that driver. Actually, bicycles that pass me on my right, within the lane, without any warning, bug me more!

Peace :)

RANTWICK said...

So far it would seem we're all OK with it. christopheru put my own thoughts on it very well.

Rob said...

I usually don't trust car signals because they can be left running after previous traffic movements.

But I suppose a cyclist doesn't really have that problem though. I've never driven 4 or 5 blocks with my left arm in the air and forgotten it was there. ;)

thomas said...

I'd be completely fine with that motorist's move on that street if I had given a clear right turn indication. However, a narrower street with increased traffic might make me think otherwise.

RANTWICK said...

thomas - agreed. In a different context like that my hope is that the driver would have behaved differently, but in this case, all is well.

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