Smart Moves Video: Preventing Right Hooks

In this video, we examine the two common types of right hook: 1) when a motorist passes a bicyclist and turns right; 2) when a bicyclist rides into the blind spot of a motorist who is turning right. As with most crashes, a right hook can be prevented by one party regardless of error or legal fault on the part of the other. We show how either the bicyclist or the motorist can prevent this conflict.

This video focuses on bike lane dynamics. Right hooks can happen on roads without bike lanes — in wide lanes or narrow lanes. The cause and prevention are the same in those cases as well. Bicyclists should approach intersections and driveways in a position that makes them visible and relevant. Motorists should be mindful of the need to yield and merge into the bike lane before turning — thus should not attempt to pass bicyclists when approaching a right turn.

For more information on crash prevention, see:

What Cyclists Need to Know About Trucks

Vantage in the Queue

Avoiding the Dreaded Left-Cross

Preventing Left Cross animations


About the author

My mission in the cycling world is to empower individual cyclists to ride with confidence and realize unhindered access to the transportation grid. I believe we can transform our traffic culture, through education and social marketing, into one which recognizes that roads are for all people, not just the ones driving cars.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. —Michelangelo

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  • It’s unfortunate that bike lane striping is becoming increasingly prevalent, and we should find ways to deter their use, in my opinion.
    However, this is an excellent educational video helping both cyclists and motorists to minimize the risks bike lanes pose.

  • Joe B

    How is the cyclist to know that the driver approaching from the rear is intending to illegally turn right from the through lane? Merging into the through lane at every intersection where cars are present doesn’t seem practical.

    I’ve found that the only real way to avoid right hooks is simply always to be ready to scream and perform an emergency maneuver.

    • Joe, you’re not avoiding right hooks, you’re preparing to respond to them. The problem you describe illustrates an inherent problem with bike lanes and with edge-riding. If you control a regular lane you don’t need to worry about right hooks at all. Right hooks are never an issue for me when I’m on streets without bike lanes. Streets with bike lanes require much more vigilance and negotiation to avoid the problems.