The Lethal Right Hook
Terence C. Gannon
12

Making the Right Hook Less Lethal

The bête becomes a little less noire.

On a recent visit to Corvallis, Oregon – which incidentally seems to have the highest ratio of great-bike-shops-to-population on the planet! – I came across the most sensible handling of The Lethal Right Hook to date. The example I found was on northbound 3rd Street between Jackson and Van Buren Avenues. It gradually moves the curb-side bike lane to its rightful position to the left of the vehicle turning right at Van Buren. Mid-block, the solid lane markings are dotted for a short distance. This creates an intuitive, virtually unmissable visual cue that bikes/cars may be crossing the bike lane at this point. This is as illustrated in the photograph, above, where the white SUV is moving over to turn right.

In this particular scenario, they enjoy the relative luxury of being able to use the full length of the block to manage the transition. However, with some creative thinking and contrasting colour striping, I think the same could be accomplished in a shorter distance if the lane delineation stripes were curved a little. This would increase the number of parking spots that could be located to the left of the curb-side bike lane for the rest of the block.

I’m also assuming that in the dotted transition area you would give bike and car equal rights. Alternatively, the rule that the bike/car in the lead would have right-of-way. This would enable the following bike/vehicle a better view in order to see-and-avoid their counterpart.

Of all the configurations I have seen, this is the one that seems to make the most sense to me.