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The 'Right Hook'

Riding a bike as a mode of transportation is growing in popularity. Whether you are commuting to work or just riding for pleasure, a bike ride is a great way to work out, relieve stress, and cut down on pollution all at the same time. However, unless you're riding on a trail, you're most likely to be riding your bike in the vicinity of cars, and this can pose a problem. Given that passenger vehicles are much larger, heavier, and faster than bicycles, an accident with a car can be devastating. One of the most common causes of car/bicycle accidents is called the right hook, which we will discuss in detail below.

Our attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have extensive experience representing cyclists who have been injured in collisions with automobiles, including those who have suffered a right hook accident. If you have been involved in a right hook bicycle accident, it is advisable to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can look at your situation and determine what your best options are. When you hire a legal professional, you can be certain that you will have a strong advocate looking out for your interests.

Bicycle Accidents are on the Rise

While fewer cyclists are killed or injured every year than motorists, cycling is far from risk-free. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 818 people died in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes in 2015. This was a 12.2% increase from the previous year. That equates to roughly two people per day who lost their lives in bicycle accidents in the United States. The good news for cyclists is that the number of estimated bicyclist injuries in 2015 was 45,00, which was a decrease from 50,000 the year before. However, this figure may be misleading, as only a small fraction of all bicycle crashes are ever recorded by the police (possibly as little as 10%).

The Right Hook is one of the Most Common Types of Bicycle Accidents

Collisions between bicycles and automobiles are dangerous because, not only are cars much heavier and faster than bicycles, but cyclists also lack many of the protections that are afforded to the occupants of passenger vehicles. One of the most common types of bicycle accidents is the right hook, but the right hook is far from the only accident that can happen. Below are some common accident scenarios between automobiles and bicycles.

  • The right hook: A right hook accident occurs when a car is traveling in the driving lane to the left of the cyclist and takes a sudden right turn, causing the cyclist to crash into the side of the car in many cases.
  • The right cross: The right cross is also very common, and occurs when a car pulls out from the right side of a street, parking lot, or driveway, and either hits the cyclist or the cyclist hits the car.
  • The left cross: The left cross accident occurs when a car is traveling in the opposite direction from the cyclist and makes a left turn into the path of the cyclist.
  • The door prize: The amusingly-named "door prize" accident occurs when a car that is parallel parked opens a driver-side door in front of a cyclist, which causes the cyclist collide with the door or move out of the way and into traffic.
  • Rear-ending: A rear-ending accident occurs when a cyclist is riding far right in the lane, and a parked car is in his or her path. To avoid the obstacle, the cyclist moves to the left into the path of a driver, who then hits them from behind.
What Causes Right Hook Accidents?

Right hook accidents are frustrating, especially because the drivers in these incidents should see the cyclist since they just passed right by them. However, not all drivers are paying enough attention to the road, which can cause many different types of accidents. One of the main reasons why drivers cause right hook accidents is because they think that cyclists are going slower than they actually are. From the driver's standpoint, it looks like the cyclist is almost standing still, so they overestimate how much time they have to make their right turn after they have passed the cyclist. Many drivers assume that, once the nose of their vehicle has passed the cyclists, the cyclist is out of their "zone of concern," but, unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

While every right hook bicycle accident scenario is different, some of the most common types of injuries we see from these accidents include:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Head injuries (including traumatic brain injuries)
  • Scrapes, cuts, and bruises
  • Road burn
  • Hand and arm injuries

Some of these injuries-like scrapes and cuts-are relatively minor and often resolve themselves on their own, but others-like traumatic brain injuries-can leave their victims unable to work for weeks or even months and can have lifelong consequences.

Who is Liable for Right Hook Bicycle Accidents?

In most jurisdictions, bicycles are considered to be "vehicles" by the law and cyclists are considered to be "drivers." This means that bicyclists and vehicle drivers are subject to the same rules and regulations, including stopping at stop signs, using sufficient illumination at night, riding on the correct side of the street, and, most importantly, in this case, giving proper right-of-way. After all, a right hook bicycle accident is primarily a violation of the cyclist's right-of-way because they only happen when the driver cuts the cyclist off. Thus, as long as the cyclist was obeying all of the rules of the road, in most cases, the vehicle driver will be found liable for right hook bicycle accidents.

Contact an Atlanta Right Hook Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a right hook bicycle accident, you might be able to recover for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Augusta, Rossville, and Dalton.

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