Getting hit with a right hook is serious and can be deadly. In bicycling, a “right hook” happens when a cyclist is riding on a city street among the cars and then gets hit by a motorist taking a right-hand turn. In most cases, the motorist is taking a right turn from one street and onto another while the cyclist is in one of its blind spots, or the motorist just doesn’t look.
A right hook can be especially violent because many times the cyclist has almost no time to react and takes the full force of the impact and then endures a second impact with the pavement.
The most common scenario for a right hook is when a cyclist is simply riding along the right side of a car—possibly in its blind spot—between the curb and the car, and then car takes a right-hand turn right in front of the cyclist
Another less common but often more deadly scenario happens when the vehicle next to the cyclist is a semi-truck which swings out to the left so their back tires will clear the curb, and then turn right. The cyclists moves up into the newly opened space only to have the truck turn back to the right and het the cyclist.
Washington Bicycling Law
Under Washington law, a cyclist is treated like a vehicle with riding in traffic. This means that the vehicle codes and right-of-way apply just as if the cyclist is a car. A cyclist is also directed to ride in the right side of a traffic lane in most situations, but there are some exceptions:
Bikes may move from the right lane:
- When overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When preparing to make a left turn.
- To avoid obstacle or danger on roadway.
This allows cyclists to ride to the left to avoid a right hook. Many times, a cyclist can anticipate being in a blind spot and can lawfully move to the left of the lane to either be seen or avoid the car taking a right into the path of the cyclist.
Liability for Right Hook Crashes
Insurance companies will try to exploit any circumstance that might save them some money, so in cyclist right hook accidents, they will often blame the cyclist for riding in blind spot or failing to avoid the car.
However, the law requires a motorist to operate their vehicle so that others may procced in safety, and when a motorist knows they are going to take a turn, looking in their blind spots is the duty of the motorist—not the cyclist.
Contact a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer.
If you’ve been injured while riding your bike in any of the cities in the valley or metro area, speak to a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer from Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., They have the knowledge and experience to help you make a claim against the state of Washington or any of its cities.