You’ve probably heard of the right hook; you know, it’s the punch in boxing that is performed by turning the core and back, thereby swinging the arm in a horizontal arc into the opponent. The hook is a powerful punch with knockout power. You might be surprised to know there’s also a right hook on the road, but this one packs a different kind of punch. The right hook on the road often ends in tragedy, with a mangled bike and rider wedged underneath the bumper of an automobile. Here’s how it works.
You’re driving along at the speed limit, maintaining a steady pace, and as you approach an upcoming corner where you plan to turn right, you notice a cyclist on the right-hand shoulder of the road. Being that you’re in an automobile and the cyclist is on a bicycle, you assume you have plenty of time to overtake the rider before you reach the corner. You accelerate pass the cyclist, and then brake hard in preparation to make your right turn. What you don’t realize is that the cyclist was traveling faster than you thought, and while you were braking, the cyclist caught back up with you and is now in your blind spot. You then proceed to make your right turn, assuming the cyclist is far behind you. If the cyclist is fortunate enough to have a clean, dry road and powerful brakes, she may be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. If she does, you continue on your way without ever knowing you almost caused an accident. But if the conditions are poor and the cyclist is unable to stop in time, you’ll have executed a perfect right hook with the resulting deadly knock out.
A safer way to handle the above scenario is simply to slow down and stay behind the cyclist until after the corner. You’ll only be delayed a few seconds and you just might save a life in the process.
Thanks from all of us bike riders, some of whom may be your friends, neighbors, or loved ones.