As cyclists, we know that time spent on the road is a constant exercise in accident avoidance. This is especially true when it comes to growing number of distracted motorists. While for the most part, drivers are not malicious with intent to harm another human being, the reality is drivers are more distracted than ever. We all witness drivers engaging with their phones in one way or another. They either don’t realize or don’t care that chatting on the phone, or checking a text, is dangerous behavior. With this in mind, it is up to us to be hyper-vigilant in order to avoid incident.
I’ve had more contact with the side of a car than I’d like to admit. So I have learned, through necesity, a good riding habit that many experienced riders lack. This habit has helped me avoid the dreaded “right hook” which causes many riders more than a fair share of anxiety. For those lucky enough to not have experienced being “hooked”, it’s when a rider is riding along side a vehicle, and has the misfortune of having that vehicle turn right into their path. On a good day, contact is avoided, and the only damage is a spike in adrenaline with all the fun side effects associated with being thrown into a fight of flight situation. A bad day means a bad day for all parties involved.
The solution is simple. Whenever approaching any chance of a right turning vehicle, take the line on the driver’s side. This allows the rider to pass the vehicle on the left without incident. A cyclist must be on the constant lookout for any upcoming danger spots. A rider must presume that every car is always going to turn into every, and any, possible right. Unfortunately, only a few drivers use their turn signals. You cannot rely on any indication of a turn by a driver. And if you happen to notice any ride sharing company decals on a car, stay as far away as possible! The amount of times I’ve seen a ride share car make a sudden U-turn with no indication is staggeringly high.
Utilize this strategy and you will avoid the dreaded pinch point between the hood of a right turning car and the curb. Have a great ride, and as always, keep the rubber side down!