Friday, March 9, 2012

Dr. Gridlock Chat (3-5-12)

As a public service, below are bicycle-related comments / questions issued to Robert Thomson on his Monday midday Dr. Gridlock chat on the Washington Post website, unedited.

This week, comments regarding who has the right of way on a right turn a bike or a car so the bicyclists doesn't get the "right hook"?

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offers a good explanation and advice on how bicycles and motor vehicles should interact.  Also, Bikesafe shows several types of collisions, including the right hook, and suggestions on how to avoid them. 

Feel free to comment.

Question - Hello Dr. Gridlock, I live in Dupont Circle, and as you know there are many bike lanes in that part of town. Often I see a bicycle and a car traveling parallel to each other arrive at an intersection at the same time - with the bike in a bike land to the right of the car. If the car is turning right and the bike is going straight, who has the right of way?

Answer - Robert Thomson:  This is the "right hook" danger, isn't it?

I don't like to answer right of way questions, because I'm not into deciding who should get the ticket after a crash. I'd rather the crash didn't happen.

The driver of the car should be aware that a cyclist is on the right. Many drivers still are watching only for other cars. This is wrong.

Meanwhile, the cyclist in this situation should be making a political statement about the rights of cyclists. The cyclist should be aware of the danger and avoid putting him or herself in a position to get hit by a turning car.

Question - Ugh, the "right hook". The guy who got hit by the turning lumber truck on U last week is my friend. He's doing okay and will make a recovery, but has a long road ahead of him.Answer - Robert Thomson:  Saw the photo of what the bike looked like afterward. Thought about how vulnerable cyclists are. Was thinking of it in giving my response to the previous comment about right of way.

Bike Lanes and Turning Right
Question - Cars turning right on streets with a bike land should move into the bike lane before making the right turn.

Answer - Robert Thomson: And they should look first, right?