This is another in a continuing series of blogs of annoying/dangerous motorist behaviors.
Overtaking a cyclist and then making a quick right hand turn in front of the cyclist, sometimes referred to as a "right-hook," is an annoying and dangerous motorist behavior. However, unlike the situation with "buzzing" it is not always an act intended to harass the cyclist.
Many times motorists do not appreciate how fast a cyclist is traveling. For instance, a cyclist, or group of cyclists, traveling at 25 mph are moving at the rate 36.67 feet/second. This is a very doable speed for a group of seasoned cyclists and for example, on Old Leeds Road, this may be in the typical range. Accordingly if a vehicle 200 yards away from an intersection and 100 yards behind the cyclists wants to make a right turn in front of the cyclists, then that vehicle is going to have to average better than 50 mph in order to even get even with the cyclists before the turn. What often happens is as the driver approaches the intersection and realizes that he/she will not be able to turn in front of the cyclists, the driver "floors it" in order to get around the cyclists. Of course, in order to make the right hand turn on four wheels, the driver has to brake very hard and turn right directly in front of the just passed oncoming cyclists. Obviously, the potential for the cyclist to strike the vehicle and be launched over it, often leading to a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder is great. The wreck is caused by both the motorist’s failure to appreciate just how fast the cyclists are moving and the motorist’s decision to try and get around the cyclists, no matter what.
As a cyclist, when you see an intersection on your right coming up, its always a good idea to notice if there is any car fast approaching behind you, and of course, when you hear the engine revving so that the car can get around you, you best be ready to brake, or take other evasive action just in case the motorist makes the quick right turn in front of you.