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Old 08-15-14, 09:36 AM   #1
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The Right Hook

I was talking to a non-cycling friend about this popular video on YouTube where an elderly man right hooks a pair of cyclists. They chase him down and confront him in a surprisingly civilized manner. They explained that it is against the law to overtake cyclists riding AFRAP and then turn right in front of them. The driver's reply is what sums up the entire problem between bikes and cars. He said, "What am I supposed to do?" The cyclists said, "You have to stop and wait for us to pass." His reaction was like that was something beyond comprehension. Stop, wait? Impossible.
My non-cycling friend sort of agreed with the driver. She said that she thought that once the passed the cyclists, it was the cyclist's responsibility to yield to the car if it made a right turn. She said she thinks most drivers probably feel that way. She's probably right based upon my experiences.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:02 AM   #2
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I don't really think that people that right hook cyclists think through it that far, but I have heard that same thought from someone who right hooked me. If they had actually completed a pass in a safe manner, they are correct, but a right hook doesn't actually involve a completed pass, the turn happens during the pass.

I was bored in the DMV yesterday, and was reading the commercial driver's license manual. The bicycle section is very good, and cautions against turning or stopping soon after passing a cyclist
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Old 08-15-14, 10:42 AM   #3
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I don't really think that people that right hook cyclists think through it that far, but I have heard that same thought from someone who right hooked me. If they had actually completed a pass in a safe manner, they are correct, but a right hook doesn't actually involve a completed pass, the turn happens during the pass.
It seems to me that common sense and courtesy dictates that overtaking vehicles should yield to cyclists if turning would impede their progress, and overtaking cyclists should yield to turning vehicles if continuing through would impede their progress.
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Old 08-15-14, 11:01 AM   #4
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If the pass was COMPLETE then NO right hook was involved. It was the cyclists duty to stop or slow down for the car in order to proceed.

What happens most of the time is that the pass is incomplete and the car drivers makes the turn from the passing position and is not fully in the correct lane. This is wrong on the part of the driver. It is wrong for passing a bicyclists and ANY other slow moving vehicle as well - a garbage truck, a tractor ANYTHING.

If you are not fully in the right lane (in RH drive countries) and attempt a RH turn from any other lane or portion of a lane you are NOT in the correct position for a RH turn. If it was a garbage truck that they had right hooked and it smashed into them it would be the car drivers fault for driving unsafely, overtaking without adequate room and making a turn across another lane of traffic without looking.
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Old 08-15-14, 11:14 AM   #5
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This presents a question in my mind. The bike lane is a legal travel lane only for bicycle as far as I know, like a bus lane is for buses. I feel that it is necessary for a right turning driver in a right hand drive lane which lies to the left of a bike lane is required to wait until the bike lane is clear to proceed.

So legally can a driver even turn across a bike lane with bike traffic approaching? I think not; I will yield out of self-preservation though.
@kickstart Ha ha common sense and consideration. I wish. But at the same time everyone has lapses in these areas of personal judgement.
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Old 08-15-14, 12:15 PM   #6
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This presents a question in my mind. The bike lane is a legal travel lane only for bicycle as far as I know, like a bus lane is for buses. I feel that it is necessary for a right turning driver in a right hand drive lane which lies to the left of a bike lane is required to wait until the bike lane is clear to proceed.

So legally can a driver even turn across a bike lane with bike traffic approaching? I think not; I will yield out of self-preservation though.
@kickstart Ha ha common sense and consideration. I wish. But at the same time everyone has lapses in these areas of personal judgement.
Many states specifically grant buses ROW, bus lanes like carpool lanes restrict access, not grant ROW.
I'm not aware of any law that requires a vehicle to yield to an overtaking vehicle proactively other than emergency vehicles, street cars, and trains.
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If the pass was COMPLETE then NO right hook was involved. It was the cyclists duty to stop or slow down for the car in order to proceed.
On the other hand one must allow enough time and space for others to safely meet their obligations.

Personally I consider overtaking a vehicle signaling a right turn on the right to be not only rude, but stupid.

Last edited by kickstart; 08-15-14 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 08-15-14, 01:55 PM   #7
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Here is my right hook video - car is making a right turn without being in the right lane.


I have many cars pass, get in the right lane, slow down for their turn, forcing me to slow. This is bothersome but not dangerous like the above video. I was on a climb and didn't need to brake too hard - but it was reckless on the driver's part.
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Old 08-15-14, 02:05 PM   #8
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As a biker, do not be to the right of a vehicle in an intersection. Take the lane. As a driver I have signaled, caught the bikers attention and merged into the bike lane with turn signal and made the turn.
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Old 08-15-14, 02:18 PM   #9
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Right of way is a fluid concept. When passing the car being passed has the right of way, but after a reasonable clearance the passing car moves over and is now the car in front, and therefore the vehicle behind must slow and yield when he signals a turn. To be clear, and assert the right of way the front vehicle has to actually be in front, having moved over to that position before initiating the turn.

So it's a question of what is reasonable clearance after passing. We've all been there when driving, especially with folks exiting expressways at the last minute from the center lane. Unfortunately it's impossible to write this kind of judgmental factor into black letter law, but like with pornography, people tend to know it when they see it.

But one key element is moving into position and assuming the role of in front, an opposed to in an adjacent lane (or line) before making the turn.
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Old 08-15-14, 03:12 PM   #10
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As a biker, do not be to the right of a vehicle in an intersection. Take the lane.
I've never understood that logic, I simply maintain whatever line I'm already using. Lane, bike lane, shoulder, or sidewalk, they all require the same situational awareness and are all mitigated by adjusting my speed. Changing my line simply changes the potential threat and increases the odds any drivers not directly behind me may loose track of where I am.

It seems the most common complaint motorists have about cyclists is erratic behavior.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:33 PM   #11
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Personally I consider overtaking a vehicle signaling a right turn on the right to be not only rude, but stupid.
Absolutely! There seems to be so many drivers out there who can't think more than 2 seconds ahead or look past the hood of their cars.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:42 PM   #12
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It doesn't matter whether approaching an intersection, T-section, or residential or business driveways. Take the lane.
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Old 08-15-14, 04:44 PM   #13
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I had a car left hook me. I was in the left turn lane waiting for the light to change. He came around on the right and made his left turn in front of me.
Technically, he completed his turn before I completed mine only because a car can accelerate much quicker than a bike. I don't think he thought he was doing anything wrong.
I think drivers think that is they don't hit us cyclists then anything they do is OK.
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Old 08-15-14, 05:34 PM   #14
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I've never understood that logic, I simply maintain whatever line I'm already using. Lane, bike lane, shoulder, or sidewalk, they all require the same situational awareness and are all mitigated by adjusting my speed. Changing my line simply changes the potential threat and increases the odds any drivers not directly behind me may loose track of where I am.

It seems the most common complaint motorists have about cyclists is erratic behavior.
Logic? If you are not to the right of a moving vehicle, no right hook can occur. First, I do not ride on the side walk. I too, maintain a line, sometimes in the middle of the lane, sometimes in the right tire track, shoulder or bike lane. I'm not cutting off cars right behind me but being proactive when I need to. Here in MA, car signaling is rare, like sasquatch rare. My morning commute takes me on a parkway that ends with 2 rotaries. When I approach the first one, I merge from the shoulder to the middle of the lane, just like a car. When I exit the 1st and 2nd rotary I'm IN THE LANE so no cars can right hook me exiting the rotary. YRMV.
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Old 08-15-14, 05:43 PM   #15
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I'm not a "take the Lane" VCer, nor do I cringe on the edge. My lane position varies with the situation, more take the lane to raise my visibility profile, then move right where possible to allow passing. I also use lane position to signal intent, and like Leebo, take the lane approaching and in rotaries, and at busy multilane intersections, so cars can factor my intent into their decisions.

The hardest call to make is lane position on city streets where moving into the lane at every corner isn't practical, but allowing a pass leaves me vulnerable. Here I try to be ready for everything.
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Old 08-15-14, 07:22 PM   #16
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I had a car left hook me. I was in the left turn lane waiting for the light to change. He came around on the right and made his left turn in front of me.
Technically, he completed his turn before I completed mine only because a car can accelerate much quicker than a bike. I don't think he thought he was doing anything wrong.
I think drivers think that is they don't hit us cyclists then anything they do is OK.
Someone tried that on me yesterday. I was in front of them in the left turn lane while I was waiting for an opening in the oncoming traffic. They decided, they didn't want to wait behind a cyclist. So they pulled into the straight-only lane, and still had to wait for the oncoming traffic. I saw the opening before he did, and took it. He had to follow behind me. His 'greedy driving', didn't get him anything.
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Old 08-15-14, 08:23 PM   #17
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I saw a car right hook another car. I was stunned, but there really are stupid people out there. Fortunately it happened at a slow enough speed that they didn't crash because the person in the right lane was aware of their surroundings.
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Old 08-15-14, 08:51 PM   #18
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It doesn't matter whether approaching an intersection, T-section, or residential or business driveways. Take the lane.
And then.....
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Someone tried that on me yesterday. I was in front of them in the left turn lane while I was waiting for an opening in the oncoming traffic. They decided, they didn't want to wait behind a cyclist. So they pulled into the straight-only lane, and still had to wait for the oncoming traffic. I saw the opening before he did, and took it. He had to follow behind me. His 'greedy driving', didn't get him anything.
You are one of the most prolific posters of dogmatic lane taking in a peremptory manner......and anecdotes of conflict with drivers.

1+1=?
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Old 08-15-14, 09:15 PM   #19
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Logic? If you are not to the right of a moving vehicle, no right hook can occur.
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I was in front of them in the left turn lane while I was waiting for an opening in the oncoming traffic. They decided, they didn't want to wait behind a cyclist. So they pulled into the straight-only lane,
And going further left into the lane only opens up the temptation to squeeze by on the right.

I find it more productive to be consistent and predictable, I can only "control" my own actions and see little advantage in attempting to "control" multi ton vehicles with a 40 lb bicycle.

In the long run its much safer and more efficient to find an equilibrium with traffic than to fight it.
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Old 08-15-14, 11:36 PM   #20
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And then.....


You are one of the most prolific posters of dogmatic lane taking in a peremptory manner......and anecdotes of conflict with drivers.

1+1=?
Prolific, yes. Ambiguous about lane position, not on your life.
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Old 08-15-14, 11:47 PM   #21
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And going further left into the lane only opens up the temptation to squeeze by on the right.

I find it more productive to be consistent and predictable, I can only "control" my own actions and see little advantage in attempting to "control" multi ton vehicles with a 40 lb bicycle.

In the long run its much safer and more efficient to find an equilibrium with traffic than to fight it.
Yes, It is good to find an equilibrium with the traffic. But not at the risk of one's safety. Because, If you make a habit of just thinking 40lbs. vs. 1-25 tons. Then you might as well not ride on the road at all.

Also, My 'equilibrium' is, when I encounter some as a motorist. Like getting stuck in traffic during rush hour.
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Old 08-16-14, 10:16 AM   #22
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The idea that all who take the lane are VCers is false. I'm mostly a "stealth" cyclist according to Hurst's typology:

http://www.urbanvelo.org/issue3/urbanvelo3_p50-51.html

I really recommend that people read "The Art of Cycling". It's a great counterpoint to VC zealotry!

To provide a thread-specific example, when riding close to the speed of traffic (80-90% of the time in PDX), I almost always ride on the left side of traffic lanes.

Why I do this:

It eliminates close passes.
It prevents right hooks.
It allows me to swerve and split lanes with ease.

Moreover, as I approach some intersections I will reflexively perform a little swerve to help close followers and light blowers pay attention. The swerve also helps set up a possible quick turn that can be used to avoid oncoming perpendicular traffic.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I've been right hooked. Although the fact that I run a lot of stop signs and lights probably has something to do with this too.

Last edited by spare_wheel; 08-16-14 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 08-16-14, 10:44 AM   #23
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And going further left into the lane only opens up the temptation to squeeze by on the right.
i've never had a motorist try this. i suspect you simply have not tried this approach much.
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Old 08-16-14, 11:52 AM   #24
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i've never had a motorist try this. i suspect you simply have not tried this approach much.
My daily commute involves several 4 lane crossing 4 or 6 lane intersections in various configurations of no shoulder, shoulder/bike lane, turn lane and no turn lane.
I rarely have motorists behave badly in any way around me, but have noticed the rare few who do are determined, and will find a way to do something stupid. If there's a shoulder or bike lane I use them, occasionally I use the sidewalk, mostly I'm using the travel lane, the emphasis on "using", not "taking" or "controlling", relying situational awareness to deal with those rare few who don't do the right thing.
One time waiting for a stoplight in the right tire track of the right lane, a guy in a SUV hopped the curb, half on the road, half on the sidewalk to do a right on red. I simply scooched left to give him some extra room and watched in amused amazement.

Its my contention that the average driver isn't as stupid or clueless as a few want or need them to be, ergo they will recognize over the top or unnecessary attempts to control their behavior as a judgmental challenge demanding a response when they otherwise would have simply done the right thing.
Using confrontation to prevent confrontation can be nothing more than self fulfilling prophecy.

I guess if there's a downside to how I ride, its that I don't have nearly as many "war stories" as the dogmatic "VC" and "lane controllers".
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Old 08-16-14, 12:16 PM   #25
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I honestly cannot remember the last time I've been right hooked. Although the fact that I run a lot of stop signs and lights probably has something to do with this too.
I can't recall the last time I had a right hook either, and other than running stops/lights, I suspect in reality we probably ride in a similar manner under most circumstances like most cyclists do. Since we're both here and have few negative encounters despite some differences, I would venture to say it proves that situational awareness is far more important than technique.
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