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Bicycle rider injured in right hook collision on SE 7th at Hawthorne

Posted by on January 25th, 2019 at 9:57 am

Scene from the collision.
(Photo: E.S.)

Two people were involved in a collision while using Southeast 7th Avenue around 1:30 pm yesterday. One person was riding a bicycle and the other was driving a car.

The Portland Police Bureau didn’t give us many details; but they’ve confirmed it happened and they say the bicycle rider has non life-threatening injuries. Images and updates posted to Twitter show a bicycle pinned under the right front wheel of a mid-sized Volkswagen SUV. It happened on the southeast corner of Hawthorne and 7th. The auto user was going northbound on 7th and was trying to turn right on Hawthorne. Police and an ambulance responded to the scene. The bicycle rider was conscious before being taken to a local hospital.

Current conditions of SE 7th looking north at Hawthorne with an “X” marking the spot of the collision.

The current cross-section here allows auto users to drive in five lanes (two are for parking their cars). There’s a five-foot wide, unprotected bike lane with green coloring as it approaches the intersection. There’s also a bike box here (it’s unclear whether the collision happened on a green signal or a red signal).

Central City in Motion project #3. This rendering shows 7th one block north of Hawthorne.

Right hooks have plagued Portland for many years. It’s a problem that could be significantly mitigated with more protective space and material between the bike lane and the adjacent lane. And that’s exactly what the Portland Bureau of Transportation has planned for this section of SE 7th. Project #3 of the recently adopted Central City in Motion Plan calls for protected bike lanes on 7th between the Lloyd District and SE Division (at the Orange Line MAX). The project is on the first-phase implementation list that’s scheduled to be built in 1-5 years.

We’ll update this post if/when we get more details from police.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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127 thoughts on “Bicycle rider injured in right hook collision on SE 7th at Hawthorne”

  1. Avatar BradWagon says:

    “Two people collided with each other while using Southeast Hawthorne Blvd around 1:30 pm yesterday. One person was riding a bicycle and the other was driving a car.”

    How did the cyclist enter into the vehicle and strike the driver? From the image above it doesn’t appear the person driving the car made contact with anything other than the interior of their car.

    1. Are you trying to make a joke BradWagon?

      I’m trying to use language that puts the people and their actions first, and the vehicle they’re using, second. If you have a beef with that, I’m happy to hear it. Making crash descriptions as accurate, fair and objective as possible is a very high priority for me. Thanks for the feedback.

      1. Yes! “were involved in a collision” is better. I actually use that often but just forgot it this time. Thanks for reminding me. I’ve made the edit.

        1. Avatar soren says:

          There is still something absurd about writing that a person cycling in a designated bike lane collided with an illegally turning SUV. The person cycling performed no action that led to this act of violence — they were simply an innocent bystander.

          Does a person who was shot collide with a bullet?

          IMO, when a specific action victimizes a human being we should not transfer that action to the victim.

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            >>> The person cycling performed no action that led to this act of violence — they were simply an innocent bystander. <<<

            This is a strong statement of fact. While it seems quite possible, likely even, how do you know it is true?

            1. Avatar soren says:

              The person driving the SUV was turning across a through lane and it was their obligation to wait until they could make a safe turn.

              Because driving is inherently unsafe and most of us can see how easy it would be to be “involved in a collision” we tend to use language that inherently excuses the risk of our actions.

              To make it personal:

              A few years ago, I was not almost “involved in a collision” with pedestrians at a legal crosswalk at SE 15th and SE Stark, rather I almost *HIT* two human beings .

              I don’t care if it was raining cats and dogs and they were wearing dark clothing. I don’t care if I was driving slowly. I don’t care if it was very dark outside.
              I still almost *HIT* two human beings .

            2. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              Your statement wasn’t about responsibility, it was a strong assertion that the cyclist in no way took any action that contributed to the crash. Approaching from behind a turning car, in the driver’s blind spot, could very well have contributed to the crash. I don’t know if this happened, and neither do you. And yet you state rather emphatically that it didn’t.

            3. Avatar soren says:

              “Approaching from behind a turning car, in the driver’s blind spot, could very well have contributed to the crash.”

              ah…yes…i forgot that the back ends of invisible bikes can suddenly materialize out of nowhere and end up under FRONT SUV wheels.

            4. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              Thank you for your thoughtful and convincing response.

          2. Avatar soren says:

            I think it’s fine to write about “collisions” when no agent is specified — this is neutral language that implies no blame. Howeover, when agency is one sided it should not be linked to the victim. IMO, the person cycling was not *involved* in this collision so we should use language that accurately describes agency:

            A person cycling was hit by someone driving a vehicle.

            A person drove into a person cycling.

            This should also apply to people cycling. When it’s certain that the agency in a collision is on the part of the person cycling we should not equivocate. For example: A person walking on the Tilikum bridge was hit by someone cycling.

            1. Avatar Pete says:

              Excellent comment soren. I think this is an important consideration because what we’re really trying to do here is shift culture. In the case of a woman killed crossing the road recently (which I wrote about here: http://windluvr.com/WhyBlameTheVictim.pdf), the police and media outlets noted she was not in a crosswalk – but she was in a crosswalk as defined by law, just not a marked one. Comments had her “wandering with dementia” because of her age, and media allows that and worse, yet recently shut down comments on a recent young driver killed driving nearly 100 MPH in a 35 MPH construction zone, and even published an op-ed on how insensitive those comments were. There is definitely a double standard.

              I had seen the woman crossing the street less than a minute before she was hit, as I had taken the second lane to turn left and timed the oncoming southbound wave behind me (that hit her) and a single northbound minivan she stopped to pass behind (and was likely watching when struck from behind). The ironic tragedy is that minivan driver was required by law to stop and let her cross (despite no crosswalk markings), yet this woman passed away with the undeserved vitriol of public ignorance in an “accident.” I had jumped on the pedals to beat that minivan, but if I had stopped to hold up the southbound traffic she may still be here.

            2. Avatar soren says:

              Pete, I was thinking of this analogy when I wrote that post. Unmarked crosswalks are treated in much the same way as bike facilities in that even advocates tend to be suspicious of the victim.

              Did the pedestrian in the unmarked crosswalk step into the path of the SUV???

              Sid the bike rider in the bike lane ride into the SUV???

              Regardless of the fact that our laws unambiguously give someone using these facilities right of way, advocates and transportation departments persist in blaming the victim (cue PBOT’s defensive walking campaign.)

      2. Avatar BradWagon says:

        It is confusing and I do not think the vehicle someone uses should be separated from the actions they make. I specifically ride a bike so I do not drive my car into someone. If I ran into someone while making a right turn we both might be knocked over… they wouldn’t be lying under my bike with crush injuries. That one person decided to be in a car when they had this collision should not be secondary, it’s absolving them of responsibility. “Oh two people ran into each other, oh well! (oh ps one was in a huge vehicle and the other wasn’t)”.

        When people are out in public in a car it becomes an extension of themselves and the decisions they make should absolutely be viewed with this context. Saying “two people hit each other” is essentially giving the “both sides” treatment to the situation when it is very clear one person was far more negligent and dangerous then the other.

        I’m totally on board with not saying cyclist or driver, we can all be either, but lets not ignore when the decision to be one or the other changes the risk we pose and the responsibility we have.

        That’s my “beef”, and if it’s a joke it’s not one I find very funny.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          Well said.

          One small suggestion:

          “When people are out in public in a car it becomes an extension of themselves”

          I think those in cars actually become extensions of their motors rather than the other way around. What becomes determinative—and this is I think your chief point—is what vehicle they are in/on.

  2. Avatar Dan A says:

    That location is on 7th, turning onto Hawthorne. Not Hawthorne turning onto 7th.

    https://goo.gl/maps/Rrdjy2hFu4Q2

    This is the view looking down 7th towards Hawthorne. The right hook appears to have happened by the bike box in this image:

    https://goo.gl/maps/tTUakoRfuPq

    1. Dang it. Yikes. You are right! That’s a big error on my part. Working to edit the post now. I am sorry for any confusion.

  3. Avatar Doug Hecker says:

    Looks like it happened on 7th to me. But, I have ridden this route for over 18 months and have noticed a great many issues with cars going N/S not wanting to stop fully and then cars on SE Hawthorne playing the “courtesy card” and letting people turn in between cars which creates a problem when I’m in the bike lane running 25-27mph. I think the sad part of my ride home is the newly installed speed bumps without the bike user cutouts in Ladd’s. Sheila could’ve done better.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      27mph? What gearing?

      1. Avatar Doug Hecker says:

        I did say 25-27mph but what’s the difference when you catch the light at SE Grand? On that downhill I’m in the big gear on my 22 speed set up. I’d assume most people my age and fitness level could do those speeds down that stretch without any issue, or someone who isn’t with an evils 🙂

      2. Avatar soren says:

        This is also above the posted speed limit.

        I do not understand how someone who has repeatedly lambasted me for scofflaw behavior (e.g. slowly and safely rolling stop signs) could be comfortable with travelling 27 mph near vulnerable traffic. IMO, travelling at 20+ mph in a heavily used bike lane is not only rude but also dangerous to others.

        1. Avatar Doug Hecker says:

          The speed limit is 25 mph. Please let me know when PPB sets up a speed sting for cyclists going the speed limit When are you going to get your “20 is Plenty” tattoo? Rolling stops doesn’t make sense because they are inheritantly opposite. Keep trying Soren.

        2. Avatar Leif says:

          When I’m going at high speeds in heavily trafficked areas (like coming down off the Hawthorne Bridge eastbound), I often take an auto lane. There are other cyclists in the bike lane, and, an auto lane is probably safer. As evidenced by this article, cars apparently don’t think to check before turning across a bike lane. At least in an auto lane I’m visible.

    2. Avatar Dan A says:

      My guess is that most right hooks occur when the light is green, as VRU traffic will be proceeding through the intersection then.

      1. Avatar HJ says:

        You can implement whatever policy you want, but it won’t change behaviors unless the laws get enforced.

      2. Avatar Dan A says:

        Playing devil’s advocate, if you could ONLY turn right on red, it would eliminate the moving right hooks, which I think are more dangerous. Disclaimer: I haven’t fully thought this through, I’m just spit-balling.

        1. Avatar mh says:

          That’s been my opinion for some time. Especially at “t” intersections, I often gesticulate in exaggerated fashion to encourage the driver to my left with their right turn signal on to TURN NOW, ON THE RED. DO NOT KILL ME ON THE GREEN – I WILL BE GOING FORWARD. Some of them understand. All of these signalized intersections need signals with turn phases, and “No turn on red” signs. At least that way when they run us over, they are disobeying a traffic signal, and I think police are less tolerant of that.

      3. Avatar El Biciclero says:

        Yep, this.
        Actual collisions may happen while the light is green, but I would bet (based strictly on my anecdotal experience, most of it at a terrible freeway overpass [Sylvan]) that the light has been green for a very short time in a majority of cases. The only time I’ve been hit by an actual car (while riding, anyway) has been due to the encroaching-while-looking-left behavior you describe. Granted, my experience (at the NW corner of the Sylvan overpass) was partially due to routing two-way bike traffic on the MUP such that bicyclists approach the intersection British-style from the right of drivers attempting to turn from Skyline onto WB US 26. But almost every day I ride, I have to allow multiple drivers to take a “Pittsburgh Right” because I have watched them staring to their left, itching to make a right turn, and I know they haven’t seen me. They usually make their turn before they even know the light is green, and so are either completely oblivious or assuming that nobody would be proceeding straight ahead on a red light (even though it has just turned green).

        1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

          They may have made the rather logical assumption that no one was going straight who was to their left. That rarely happens on large roads — engineers would never put car drivers in such a dangerous position.

          Going straight lanes to the left of a right-turn lane gets people killed.

          1. Avatar El Biciclero says:

            I’ll assume you meant “right” in the places you wrote “left” in the above, and yes, in any state other than Oregon, the assumption you project onto drivers would be “logical”—with respect to bicyclists. However, any licensed driver in Oregon should be aware that “riders upon a bicycle lane or path” must be yielded-to by anyone crossing said bicycle lane or path, as long as the rider is proceeding in accordance with other applicable laws (recent court decisions on the existence of bike lanes in intersections notwithstanding). Further, the assumption that no one would be proceeding straight ahead to the right of a right-turning driver is not logical when considering pedestrians in crosswalks. Whether I’m proceeding straight ahead as a bicyclist or a pedestrian is at most a matter of inches one way or the other (if we compare being in a bike lane to being on a sidewalk), and sometimes no different at all (if we think of a MUP crossing).

          2. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            Bad dyslexic kitty!

            “Logical” may have been the wrong word — if 99.9% of the times no one is going straight over on your right, most people are going to assume that is true the remaining .1%. Your comment about pedestrians is interesting. One difference is that crosswalks aren’t in driver’s blind spot, and pedestrians (generally) move more slowly than a cyclist providing more time to react.

            My argument isn’t about who is responsible; it’s about creating intersections where people don’t get nailed by a right-turner as they are trying to proceed straight. By putting right-turners to the left of go-straighters, we create an inherent conflict and rely on drivers to focus on too many things at once. This is especially true if cyclists are hidden out of sight behind a wall of parked cars.

    3. Avatar Brian says:

      Absolutely, but that may not have been the case in this situation.

    4. Avatar Liz says:

      There are some “no turn on red” signs. There’s one at Madison and 7th for south bound traffic on 7th that would be turning right onto Madison. There’s one at at Moody and Harbor for west bound traffic on Moody that would be turning right onto Harbor.

      I think most drivers don’t notice these signs and aren’t looking for them. Since the 70’s, when right on red laws were enacted, we’ve set the expectation for drivers that they can always turn right on red. It’s one of the many ways we’ve ceded the public right away to car traffic. Even at the top of the steel bridge on east side, where there’s a special signal to alert drivers they can’t turn right, at least once a week I watch a driver turn right against this sign. My experience is many drivers who intend to turn right on red, treat the red light like a yield sign. They slow down through the cross walk and look for oncoming cars and if there are no cars, they turn. They are not looking at traffic signs or for pedestrians or bikes. The longer I commute in Portland, and I’ve been commuting for 15 years, the more I slow down through every intersection. Too many close calls.

      1. Avatar Mark Linehan says:

        There is a “No Right Turn on Red” sign that forbids such turns from SE 7th heading north onto SE Hawthorne heading east, right at the location of this accident.

    5. Avatar Dave says:

      I don’t live in Portland, but frequently piss off drivers behind me when driving myself–by refusing to turn right on a red.

      1. Avatar q says:

        Same here. I even get honked at (and see others getting honked at) for not turning on “no turn on red” red lights.

    6. Avatar soren says:

      I also find it infuriating that bike riders and car drivers prevent me from racing my bike at tour de france speeds during peak commute hours.

      When will these inconsiderate in-grates learn to share the road?

    7. Avatar soren says:

      There is substantial evidence that allowing right turns on red increases pedestrian and cyclist injury collisions.

      Permitting rights on red increases pedestrian crashes by 60 percent and bike crashes by 100 percent, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in the 1980s.

      https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/05/15/its-time-for-cities-to-rethink-right-turns-on-red/

    8. Avatar q says:

      An intersection I regularly walk across recently got “no turn on red” signs (one at the intersection, one several yards before it). It’s amazing how many people ignore it, and even weirder are the people who obey it, but still pull forward to entirely block the crosswalk while they wait for their green.

    9. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

      You probably shouldn’t publicly admit to speeding.

  4. Avatar Paul B says:

    Just looked Project #12, specifically the Rendering #1, SE Clay St at SE Water Ave.

    North of Clay the bike lines on Water going N/S are right next to each other. How is a northbound biker supposed to keep going North? There seems to be no way for them to cross to get there and there is no bike lane on the east side of Water north of Clay.

  5. Avatar dan says:

    Per a witness who posted on Reddit, this was indeed a right hook – both vehicles were northbound on SE 7th, the cyclist was continuing across Hawthorne and was right hooked by the motorist.

    1. Avatar dan says:

      I almost got right hooked myself yesterday – making pretty good speed westbound on NE Broadway yesterday, and a motorist decided to turn right without checking the bike lane. When passing in a bike lane, I try to avoid the “right hook sweet spot” adjacent to the right rear / right center of the car — I try to pass through that zone only when I’m pretty certain there’s room to make the pass before the next turning opportunity, or if the car is stuck in traffic. Might have saved me from a right hook of my own. They did stop promptly when I yelled though, so kudos to them for that.

  6. Avatar B. Carfree says:

    So that street is going to go from an awful door-zone bike lane to a so-called “protected” bike lane and this is somehow supposed to magically make motorists less likely to right-hook people on bikes even though it has placed them even further outside the zone of driver attention? Oh my, I’m having trouble seeing how that solves the problem.

    While the motorist is clearly at fault here (unless we’re going to listen to a judge from Bend or that other one in Multnomah County), good cycling practice dictates that a rider leave the bike lane and control the lane when there is a dooring hazard (which exists here) and when approaching an intersection where motorists may turn across the bike lane (which also exists here). Perhaps we should spend less energy lamenting the fact that we’re not going to build an entirely separate set of roads and more educating people on how to ride effectively.

  7. Avatar matt says:

    How about a constant red arrow there and other intersections on major bike routes so that cars always have to stop before turning right?

    1. Avatar Jay Dedd says:

      There’s a few such red arrows around town. Lots of people in cars don’t get that they mean no right on red. They tend not to stop unless a car is in their way — and when there is, they have been known to honk, swear and otherwise pressure drivers who are doing it “right.”

      1. Avatar Clayton says:

        This is so infuriating to me. In other states a red arrow explicitly means ‘No Turn on Red’. It seems to create a lot of confusion and friction between cyclists and motorists.

      2. Avatar Jay Dedd says:

        Eh, you’re right. Might be more accurate to say a constant red arrow wouldn’t stop a lot of folks from _rolling_ the right turn without stopping (unless a car is in their way), as occurs at other red lights and stop signs.

      3. Avatar Daniel s says:

        That is such a stupid part of the Oregon driving laws. I grew up out of state, where a red arrow means no turn on red. It was definitely a place where people respected the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians much less than they do here. But at least people consistently obeyed red arrows.

  8. Avatar dwk says:

    This is why one should take the lane crossing intersections….

  9. Avatar CaptainKarma says:

    I watch auto drivers cut into the bike lane all the time to do an illegal, signed, prohibited right turn on red. Is it willfully breaking the law, mindless incompetence, or literal blindness? This town is getting too cramped for RTORs.

  10. Avatar JeffS says:

    Are we, at any point, going to at least consider the idea that bike lanes might be increasing the risk of collision at intersections?

  11. Avatar Joe says:

    oh the ” goat rope ” of cars following to close and right hooking.. agh

  12. My bike commute takes me through this intersection. Motorists appear to disregard the green bike box here more than they disregard other bike boxes. More often than not there’s a car in the bike box waiting for the light to change when I pull up in the bike lane to the left of the parked cars. Twice within the past month I’ve had motorists pull up behind me as I wait on my bike in the bike box for the light to change, and either turn right on red around me, or honk at me to move. I try to explain through (inoffensive) hand signals that I have the right to the in the box, and they do not. A third motorist nearly right hooked me as I was stationary in the bike box and they swerved around me to turn right on red.

    I don’t know if this disregard is common in other bike boxes, but I wonder whether better signage would be helpful at this particular intersection to inform people the purpose of the bike box and that they should not turn right on red through bike boxes.

    I sure hope the cyclist recovers quickly and thoroughly, and I hope charges are pressed against the motorist and publicized in the mainstream press in the interest of motorist education.

    1. Avatar idlebytes says:

      This happens going the other direction at Madison regularly too. My guess is the clear sight lines towards cross traffic and the almost completely worn down paint for the bike box makes it easy to miss. The best part about the Madison right turn is that light is timed pretty well so they almost always just end up waiting at Grand anyway. In my experience these are ignored more regularly then the other bike boxes I use.

      I think one of those lite up signs saying no turn on red that turns on as they approach and keeping the paint fresh would help a lot. I’d really like to see some city attempt some public shaming to get people to pay attention more. Like a sign on Grand that says “You made an illegal right turn to wait at this light instead.” They might get less push back then red light cameras and convince the more reasonable motorist to consider if they’re decisions are actually benefiting them in any way.

      1. Avatar Daniel s says:

        The light up “No Turn on Red” signs at 8th and Clinton and Steel Bridge head do absolutely nothing to curtail illegal turns by motorists. Without enforcement, signs are useless.

    2. Avatar soren says:

      Given that there are only a few stripes of green paint left I don’t think this qualifies as a “box” any longer. I should also note that this “box” has been worn away for years.

      Paint it every 5-10 years and they will not come.

  13. Avatar David says:

    An important note with Project #3 in CCIM is that the CEID is strongly opposed to the project as currently presented. Much of the testimony for CCIM focused specifically on this project as providing more safe space for vulnerable road users was not a valued as highly as maintaining full loading access for businesses (working under the assumption that the only way for this to happen would be to maintain full parking lanes in both directions). Hopefully this viewpoint can change and PBOT will find a solution that fulfills the legitimate needs of the business community while providing real safety for people on foot, bike, and scooter.

  14. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

    In the CCIM proposed redesign, cyclists will be tucked away behind a row of parked cars, making them difficult to see/invisible to drivers in the travel lane. This will *increase* the potential for right-hooks. Though it creates the illusion of safety, I think it is a dangerous design.

    It will also require a two-stage left-turn. We don’t ask car drivers to do that; why should we ask cyclists to?

    1. Avatar Moleskin says:

      I feel the same about two-stage left turns, but I also recall riding around Copenhagen a few years ago where all lefts for bikes are two-stage, and it kind of felt fine. I guess the rest of the bicycle infrastructure is pretty good so it felt like less of a slap in the face.

  15. Avatar J_R says:

    Please provide a link to studies that support the following statement from the article:

    “Right hooks have plagued Portland for many years. It’s a problem that could be significantly mitigated with more protective space and material between the bike lane and the adjacent lane. ”

    I agree with the first sentence, but I have yet to see evidence of the “significant” mitigation.

    It seems to me that the separation between auto lane and bike lane will simply change the point of impact.

    1. Avatar soren says:

      This study found that a recessed or protected intersection was associated with lower levels of conflict than four other models:

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369847816300705

      1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

        I didn’t read through the article, but I did look at the illustrations, and it appears all that were tested were variants of a through lane to the right of a right-turning lane. That’s wrong for cars, and wrong for cyclists.

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            By letting cars use the bike lane to turn, I guess option C sort of is what I described. But it’s not really a good solution either. I prefer what we have just before the Hawthorne Bridge when heading east from downtown. Merge, then turn, cleanly separated, ideally with some protection.

          2. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            Also, none of the options presented in the study you cited hid cyclists behind a row of parked cars where drivers can’t see them.

    2. Avatar Bald One says:

      The proposed changes to road design on SE 7th Ave that will move the bike lane into the gutter behind a row of parked cars will only increase the frequency and the severity of right-hooks on cyclists. It is a bad idea that will decrease safety.

  16. Avatar bikeninja says:

    I hate to be a doomer, but I don’t see any signs that we are making any progress on right hooks and other bad behavior by auto users. Every year we get less enforcement, drivers that are increasingly impatient and impaired with gadget distraction, poor attention spans, bad educations, sugar/achohol/drug addictions, terminal selfishness driving oversize petro buggies with bad visibility. My only real hope is the giant ponzi scheme that keeps the debt fueled happy motoring paradise going will finally crap out of its own internal contradictions and leave us to travel in peace and safety.

    1. Avatar Another Engineer says:

      Thank you!! I just added “terminal selfishness” to my vocabulary for both political and transportation conversations.

  17. Avatar SD says:

    Red light cameras at the few “no right on red” signals in Portland would make $$$$$.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      That’s the argument that people use against enforcement.

      I prefer to focus on the other benefits of red light cameras.

      1. Avatar SD says:

        Agreed. Just saying that I see this happen constantly.

        1. Avatar Dan A says:

          Ah, gotcha.

  18. Avatar BMUFL says:

    It’s so easy to NEVER get right hooked:

    Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right.

    Works every time, every where, today, right now. Don’t need to change human nature, motorist behavior, or road designs. You already have everything you need right there between your ears.

    Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right.

    That is all.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      Right.
      Never leaving the house; that would also be a surefire way of never getting right hooked.

    2. Avatar q says:

      Vehicle traffic doesn’t have to slow much to be slower than normal biking speed in a bike lane. Riding in a bike lane, it’s typical to pass intersections, driveways and on-street parking spaces every few yards. There can be literally a dozen places someone might turn right within a block or two.

      Under your system you’d have to slow to potentially a crawl to “never pass on the right any vehicle than can and might be turned (sic) right”. So your rule doesn’t work for much of urban biking.

      Plus, even if you could avoid ever being right-hooked, that doesn’t mean you should have to ride that way.

      1. Avatar pruss2ny says:

        “Under your system you’d have to slow to potentially a crawl to “never pass on the right any vehicle than can and might be turned (sic) right”. So your rule doesn’t work for much of urban biking.”

        just to be a tool, whatever happened to going at a speed that’s safe for your surroundings? isn’t that the golden rule? if u are in the furthest right lane, car or bike, and there really are driveways and intersections every few yards as you posit, then maybe you really should be going at a crawl. or is it golden rule for cagers, but ROW for bikes?

        1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

          HOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTT PIIIIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

        2. Avatar q says:

          There’s a big difference between “going at a speed that’s safe for your surroundings” (which I believe people should do) and “Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned (sic) right”, which is too extreme to even be practical.

          Traffic law certainly agrees with me.

          I’d say the Golden Rule does, too. Nobody has a responsibility, even under that rule, to ride so slowly that right hooks can NEVER happen, regardless of how poorly a driver is driving–which is what the commenter I was responding to was asserting.

      2. +1 for BMUFL.

        This salient comment should not be dismissed because the theoretical extrapolation appears absurd. Life is all about gradients and percentages of risk …
        Being careful not to blame the victim here, a cyclist can often avoid placing oneself in right-hook circumstances. Generally, that means slowing down to not be where the risk is. Don’t be in such a hurry, and don’t depend on drivers to do the right thing.

        Indeed, one can avoid a lot of hazards by giving them some time to dissipate. Especially at intersections.

        1. Avatar q says:

          Your comment and tone are much different than BMUFL’s.

          You say, “a cyclist can often avoid placing oneself in right-hook circumstances”. I agree, just as I agree with your “One can avoid a lot of hazards…”

          BMUFL, in contrast, said, “It’s so easy to NEVER get right hooked.” I don’t agree with that at all. I also don’t agree with his advice, “Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right” not because I don’t think people should ride cautiously, but because his tone and advice were extreme. If drivers ALWAYS signaled, and NEVER made sudden turns, and if there weren’t so many places (including parking spaces every 30′ or so on many streets) then his advice would be more plausible to follow.

          And his “That is all” at the end seemed dismissive. It’s entirely possible for someone who rides responsibly and safely to get right hooked.

    3. Avatar soren says:

      Just the other winter day during my daily year round commute, I saw a young boy pass a vehicle on the right. I promptly clipped in, spun out the big ring at 27 mph, and after significant effort managed to catch up to him.

      I shouted, “Never pass on the right or you will break your neck!”, and the young boy started to cry.

      I took this as evidence that he understood the seriousness of his error and continued my daily year-round with the warm glow that comes from a selfless good deed.

      BTW, did I mention I’ve commuted by bike every day, rain, snow, sleet, ice or shine, for 30 years.

    4. Avatar SD says:

      BMUFL, you are completely wrong on this one.

      Do you stop or slow down every time a car passes you?

      How does this work?

    5. Avatar q says:

      It can be dangerous and confusing for others using the road when you (either biking or driving) yield the right-of-way that is legitimately yours.

      If I’m driving and making a right turn across a bike lane, the last thing I want is for someone biking in the bike lane behind me, who I’ve already seen and am waiting for to overtake me, slow down more and more so I can’t make the turn until I’m certain they’re waiting for me to go first. I’d much rather have them continue on past me in their lane, as the law leads me to expect them to do, thereby eliminating the confusion and getting out of my way sooner.

      1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

        Yet the cyclist would be a fool to pass you and risk getting pegged — how do they know if you saw them or not? Is it worth betting your life?

        I usually pull in behind a driver in that situation, to make it clear I’m not going to pass them when they’re turning.

  19. Avatar dan says:

    Hello, Kitty
    In the CCIM proposed redesign, cyclists will be tucked away behind a row of parked cars, making them difficult to see/invisible to drivers in the travel lane. This will *increase* the potential for right-hooks. Though it creates the illusion of safety, I think it is a dangerous design.It will also require a two-stage left-turn. We don’t ask car drivers to do that; why should we ask cyclists to?Recommended 10

    I agree with you that the parking protected bike lanes feel very unsafe – like you’re invisible to traffic, and there is a high chance of getting right or left hooked (on one-way streets) at every intersection. I have no idea if statistics bears this out, but last time I was in the parking protected bike lanes in downtown Portland, I felt much better leaving them for the street.

  20. Avatar Toby Keith says:

    Dammit! Drivers pay attention!

  21. Avatar Beth H says:

    While I understand Jonathan’s hope that, by changing language for the sake of accuracy he may also eventually change minds, I guess I don’t share his faith. If we make car ownership and operation cheap and easy, people will buy and drive cars as their default choice.
    I don’t see that changing in a meaningful way until cars become expensive and inconvenient to use. Language really doesn’t matter here. What’s needed are radical — yes, RADICAL — changes in the way we design and fund transportation infrastructure, the way we manufacture goods and get them to market, and the things we build our very economy on.
    I don’t expect to see those changes in my lifetime.

  22. Avatar Jeffery L Krater says:

    It is THEIR fault and not mine.
    No wonder Trump was allowed to be elected.

    1. Avatar q says:

      Why? Because some people turn to the right without looking ahead?

  23. Avatar Duke says:

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Are you trying to make a joke BradWagon?I’m trying to use language that puts the people and their actions first, and the vehicle they’re using, second. If you have a beef with that, I’m happy to hear it. Making crash descriptions as accurate, fair and objective as possible is a very high priority for me. Thanks for the feedback.Recommended 29

    This is some pretty heavy aggression towards someone who was just trying to help clear up your article. The person was correct, your story didn’t make sense.

    Why is the writer attacking people?

    1. Hi Duke,

      Thanks for your comment. I just asked him an honest question. Not intended to be aggressive, although I realize with the flawed medium of electronic communication, I need to always be careful about how things sound. And IMO the article makes sense.

      Again, I disagree with your assertion that I’m “attacking people”.

  24. Avatar Mark smith says:

    Law or no law, this is why the best course of action is to always block off the bike lane when turning. Just pull to the right so the cyclers know.

    1. Avatar Chris I says:

      No, you just need to look before you turn. It’s pretty easy, actually. Vehicles come with these mirror thingies on each side.

  25. Avatar Riversiderider says:

    I am going to ask this although I fear I may be attacked and ridiculed.

    Washington and California both have laws that mandate that cars move into bike lanes prior to making right turns to avoid right hooks.

    Why is this not discussed here?

    I have included a link from the San Fransisco Bicycle Coalition.

    https://sfbike.org/news/bike-lanes-and-right-turns/

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      “Why is this not discussed here?”

      It has, repeatedly. Lamented, commented upon, discussed, belabored, etc.

      1. Avatar Riversiderider says:

        Well perhaps it should be discussed further as it seems a plausible solution to the problem.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          Perhaps. I don’t know.
          Are right hooks less common, unknown in those two states?

  26. Avatar Christopher of Portland says:

    SE 7th is a terrible ride all around and I don’t look forward to another parking “protected” bike lane. Many drivers pay no attention to all that paint stuff on the road or the signs. Parked half in some kind of beige triangle and straddling an 8 inch white line? Good enough. Parked right on top of a symbol that looks kinda like someone on a bike and in front of a sign with one of those bewildering crossed out P’s? Who cares? Crosswalk, fire hydrant, partially or entirely on the sidewalk, the little no parking bit by the tree between two valid spaces, behind the giant lollipop sticks they glued to the road a month ago? Can’t you see I have important business to tend to with my car? What’s all that green stuff? Oops, dropped my phone.

    Maybe the people who live nearby will figure it out. Maybe people from all across the city will learn. There will always be people driving here who don’t know and can’t figure out PBOT’s latest innovative arrangement of parking and bike lanes.

  27. Avatar BMUFL says:

    q
    Vehicle traffic doesn’t have to slow much to be slower than normal biking speed in a bike lane. Riding in a bike lane, it’s typical to pass intersections, driveways and on-street parking spaces every few yards. There can be literally a dozen places someone might turn right within a block or two.Under your system you’d have to slow to potentially a crawl to “never pass on the right any vehicle than can and might be turned (sic) right”. So your rule doesn’t work for much of urban biking.Plus, even if you could avoid ever being right-hooked, that doesn’t mean you should have to ride that way.Recommended 6

    Even with a dozen driveways over two long blocks you only have to slow down at each driveway.

    The main point is to not obliviously pass on the right betting your life that every single motorist who will turn right will remember to look first and not fail to notice you as you blow by at a break-neck (literally) speed.

    It’s the same idea as safe lane splitting for motorcyclists. The speed differential should be low. Low enough so slowing to their speed as they pass a driveway is no big deal.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      Perhaps this is one of those deep, irreconcilable differences. But the distinction I would make is between riding while perspicacious (always a good thing), and remonstrating folks for doing it wrong, for risking life and limb if they don’t follow the kinds of prescriptions that evince cowering-in-fear from the almighty auto.
      The reason I cringe at what you are saying is that any policy, any prescriptions that might follow from that tilt too far toward acquiescing to, normalizing inattentive driver behavior. In my view the pragmatic a of what you are saying are lost because in seeking to save your hide (win the battle) you are conceding territory, your right to be in that lane, (losing the war).

      1. Avatar BMUFL says:

        Inattentive driving IS the norm and denying this is hazardous to safety. The advent of texting while driving and all the handwringing about it has obscured the reality that drivers have alsways been inattentive for one reason or another. Texting is just another distraction piled on loads of others. Thinking about work is a distraction that leads to inattention. Looking left at a potential hazard is a distraction from looking right to see the hazard there. It’s human nature, physiology, and physics that causes inattentive driving and none of that is going to change. But there is good news on the horizon, much closer than most realize. Self-driving cars, and they cannot arrive soon enough. In the mean time the prudent cyclist recognizes the reality of inattentive driving, and rides accordingly.

        1. Avatar q says:

          “In the mean time the prudent cyclist recognizes the reality of inattentive driving, and rides accordingly.”

          Thanks. I had no idea people were driving inattentively, and I’ll be sure to ride accordingly, along with slowing down 12 times every two blocks until the self-driving cars arrive.

        2. Avatar 9watts says:

          “It’s human nature, physiology, and physics that causes inattentive driving and none of that is going to change.”

          I agree that we (homo sapiens) seem very poorly suited to the demands of piloting an auto in urban traffic, but your conclusion that this is impossible to change is absurd and unhelpful. It is a matter of priorities. If we treated this set of circumstances akin to other arguably similar situations: pilots, operators of heavy equipment, surgeons, then nothing prevents us from regulating, certifying, testing, and above all communicating to everyone that this is serious business, not a trifling matter, and if you screw up, you’re done operating this piece of equipment.

          “But there is good news on the horizon, much closer than most realize. Self-driving cars, and they cannot arrive soon enough.”

          Another entry in the annals of imagined techno-fixes for what are still primarily social, cultural, political matters.

          “In the mean time the prudent cyclist recognizes the reality of inattentive driving, and rides accordingly.”

          Again, if you differentiated between your own guideline vs a policy prescription I could agree with you. I might ride like this, but as a prescription I resolutely object. As El Biciclero has reminded us over the years, the logical result of taking your approach amounts to a blanket exoneration of the autoists, a broad shift of responsibility from where it belongs onto those on two wheels, or no wheels. Your pragmatic urge must be contained by recognizing the larger political and policy context.

          https://bikeportland.org/2014/06/20/pbot-ad-campaign-drivers-slow-107630#comment-5094131

    2. Avatar q says:

      You only have to slow down a dozen times every two blocks? Only?

      On the positive side, you’ve changed entirely what you said. You went from, “Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right” which is extreme and impractical, to “The main point is to not obliviously pass on the right betting your life that every single motorist who will turn right will remember to look first and not fail to notice you as you blow by at a break-neck (literally) speed”, which is much less extreme.

      Now all that’s left is for you to step back a bit on the extremeness of your “It’s so easy to NEVER get right hooked”.

      1. Avatar SD says:

        And then he can just ride his bike the way that most of us are riding anyway. Assuming that he rides a bike.

  28. Avatar BMUFL says:

    SD
    BMUFL, you are completely wrong on this one.Do you stop or slow down every time a car passes you?How does this work?Recommended 2

    No, I don’t stop or slow down every time a car passes me. I only slow down if the car slows to my speed or slower after passing me, and it may turn right.

    1. Avatar SD says:

      Well, then you are confusing luck with virtue.

  29. Avatar BMUFL says:

    q
    You only have to slow down a dozen times every two blocks? Only?On the positive side, you’ve changed entirely what you said. You went from, “Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right” which is extreme and impractical, to “The main point is to not obliviously pass on the right betting your life that every single motorist who will turn right will remember to look first and not fail to notice you as you blow by at a break-neck (literally) speed”, which is much less extreme.Now all that’s left is for you to step back a bit on the extremeness of your “It’s so easy to NEVER get right hooked”.Recommended 3

    Originally I was thinking of the typical scenario of cars moving faster than bike speed, passing the bike, then one car slows in preparation to turn right (or it’s possible that’s why).

    If the cars are already stopped or are moving slower than bike speed, that’s where you watch your relative speed, and take extra care where they m ay turn right. If passing on the left is feasible, i.e., motorcyclists are or would be passing on the left, then that’s what I would do on bike too. .

  30. Avatar BMUFL says:

    q
    Your comment and tone are much different than BMUFL’s.You say, “a cyclist can often avoid placing oneself in right-hook circumstances”. I agree, just as I agree with your “One can avoid a lot of hazards…”BMUFL, in contrast, said, “It’s so easy to NEVER get right hooked.” I don’t agree with that at all. I also don’t agree with his advice, “Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right” not because I don’t think people should ride cautiously, but because his tone and advice were extreme. If drivers ALWAYS signaled, and NEVER made sudden turns, and if there weren’t so many places (including parking spaces every 30′ or so on many streets) then his advice would be more plausible to follow.And his “That is all” at the end seemed dismissive. It’s entirely possible for someone who rides responsibly and safely to get right hooked.Recommended 4

    Well, I can guarantee you I will never get right hooked. I used to regularly experience close calls, and once actually experienced a right hook when someone pulled out of stopped traffic right across the bike lane I was riding in. So I did some research and learned how to avoid all kinds of crashes, including right hooks. That was 16 years ago. Not a single close call since, much less an actual one. I see people on bikes ride into vulnerable situations all the time, and it makes me cringe. It’s a crime how much bike-car crash avoidance is a big secret in the cycling community.

    That said, yes it’s possible for someone riding safely, assuming riding safely means not riding in the hook zone, to get right hooked, but it’s highly unlikely. It would mean the cyclist is using the full rightmost through lane, and someone in the adjacent lane turns right.

    1. Avatar soren says:

      “So I did some research and learned how to avoid all kinds of crashes, including right hooks. That was 16 years ago. Not a single close call since. ”

      Same here. I’ve not had a single close call since I read “Effective Cycling” 30 years ago. Everyone should read this amazing revelation — it will help them stop cowering in the right-hand gutter and liberate them so they can “use full lanes”. Because I learned how to communicate EFFECTIVELY via “eye contact” and “hand signals” every motorist I encounter understands my intent and goes exactly where I want them to. The feeling of lane control is AMAZING.

      It’s tragic how many cyclists needlessly get in the way of motorists and literally break their necks because they do not understand how to EFFECTIVELY drive their bikes in the full lane.

    2. Avatar q says:

      “That said, yes it’s possible for someone riding safely, assuming riding safely means not riding in the hook zone, to get right hooked, but it’s highly unlikely.”?

      That doesn’t make sense to me. First, if you are not in the hook zone, isn’t it 100% physically impossible (not “highly unlikely”) to be right hooked? How can you be right hooked if you are not in the hook zone?

      But more importantly, I don’t think it’s right to define “riding safely” as not riding in the hook zone, because it would mean never passing a vehicle that could possibly turn right while you were passing it, which isn’t practical in urban riding. I’m not talking about zooming past at 25 mph, either. You can be riding slowly past a line of cars when one suddenly decides it’s a good idea to pull over into the bike lane or a parking space, or turn into a driveway at the last second, perhaps even after you’re almost done passing them.

  31. Avatar BMUFL says:

    SD
    Well, then you are confusing luck with virtue.Recommended 0

    No following. How is that luck?

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      You are under the impression that you are in charge.
      In charge of your own continued existence, viability at every moment.

      Some of us are less sanguine, recognize that even the best laid plans…

  32. Avatar BMUFL says:

    9watts
    You are under the impression that you are in charge. In charge of your own continued existence, viability at every moment.Some of us are less sanguine, recognize that even the best laid plans…Recommended 0

    In charge? Not at all.

    I do recognize, however, that I have a lot more influence on the behavior of drivers around me than the vast majority of cyclists seem to believe that they have. The notion that we cyclists just have to try to stay out of their way, and hope for the best, is killing us.

    Have you taken a CyclingSavvy course? The basic online course is now free. http://www.cyclingsavvy.org

    1. Avatar q says:

      Do you see the irony of your, “The notion that we cyclists just have to try to stay out of their way, and hope for the best, is killing us”? after you wrote earlier that people biking should slow down up to a dozen times every couple blocks to stay out of their way?

      1. Avatar 9watts says:

        Yeah, I recommend the commentingsavvy.org course to our esteemed friend.

      2. Avatar 9watts says:

        “try to stay out of their way, and hope for the best” (killing us)

        vs.

        “try to stay out of their way, and know that you will not get right hooked” (sparing us)

        Both reify our second class position, abandon any claims to having rights that deserve protection.

  33. Avatar Takethelane says:

    The basic rule (not the golden rule) is that one travel at an appropriate speed for the conditions. Approaching a heavily trafficked intersection to the right of a line of slow moving cars that may legally turn right while going 25 mph on your bicycle, I would say, is breaking the basic rule. By the time an automobile driver has looked into there mirror (not seeing you a half block back) and looked left for oncoming traffic and started to turn right, you could be beside them and right hooked.

  34. Avatar Peter Linssen says:

    BMUFL
    It’s so easy to NEVER get right hooked:Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right.Works every time, every where, today, right now. Don’t need to change human nature, motorist behavior, or road designs. You already have everything you need right there between your ears.Never pass on the right any vehicle that can and might be turned right.That is all.Recommended 8

    Thank you! Basic survival skills.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      Right hooks can and do happen without the person-on-the-right passing anyone on the right. We can be side by side, or the person in the car can overtake me before hooking me.

      1. Avatar Dan A says:

        A well-known and experienced cyclist was right-hooked and killed in Cedar Mill while stopped at a light in the bike lane.

        1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

          How does one get right-hooked while stopped?

          1. Avatar q says:

            Front of turning vehicle clears the person, but side of vehicle smashes into them. The same thing that happens when someone driving makes a right turn too sharply–the front right tire clears the curb, but the back right tire runs over it. That’s my guess.

            1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              I always thought a hook described cutting someone off suddenly, which is a different than just driving into them when they’re not moving.

              1. Avatar q says:

                Your definition is as good as mine. I certainly wouldn’t call someone standing still getting hit from behind a right hook, but if they were standing and the vehicle’s side crashed into them while it turned in front of them, it’s at least sort of a right hook to me.

              2. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

                A hook occurs when the victim is on the inside of turning vehicle’s radius. When they are on the outside of the turning radius, it’s a cross. Either case could be called “cutting them off,” but that can also mean moving closely in front of their lane/line-of-travel without contact and without making a turn other than line adjustment.

      2. Avatar soren says:

        I’ve personally witnessed right hook collisions that occurred when the driver attempted to overtake someone cycling and failed. IMO, the claim that someone can avoid all right hooks by practicing “Cycling Savvy’s” or other VC techniques is magical thinking . After all, none of the safety claims made by “Cycling Savvy” or other VC proponents are backed up by credible evidence.

        It would not surprise me at all if VC lane control “techniques” actually increased the risk of death or serious injury as has been suggested recently:

        https://www.vox.com/2014/5/22/5738626/how-and-why-bicycle-deaths-happen-in-the-us

        https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4489253/Screen_Shot_2014-05-21_at_1.03.25_PM.png

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