As an avid bike commuter and cyclist, I encounter or often see dangerous situations involving vehicles and cyclists. A particular intersection at 2nd Ave and Main St. in Portland, Oregon is a magnet for dangerous incidents. At that intersection, I routinely see cars make a right turn immediately in front of a cyclist who is riding straight in the bike lane. Vehicles often don’t account for cyclist in the bike lane when they are turning right. In downtown Portland, the problem is compounded by the various other distractions and dangers the driver is facing. Pedestrians crossing the street, cars pulling out of parking spots and garages, buses, Max, and Street Cars all pose an added distraction for a driver. The cyclist who is lawfully riding in the bike lane is often overlooked when the driver makes the right turn. See The YOUTUBE video below for an example of the right hook.
This causes the front of the cyclist bike to usually impact the side of the car. These crashes are serious and often result in significant injuries to the cyclist and minimal damage to the vehicle. The cyclist will likely suffer broken bones, a head injury, soft tissue injuries (strains, sprains, etc.), bruises and swelling (edema), significant road rash. Shoulder injuries and upper extremity injuries are common as many time the shoulder is the first thing to hit the car or pavement. Some injuries are fatal because the driver ends up running over the cyclist wit the driver’s rear tire. These unthinkable tragedies can be avoided if driver’s obey Oregon’s Laws. ORS 811.050 states: A person commits the offense of failure of a motor vehicle operator to yield to a rider on a bicycle lane if the person is operating a motor vehicle and the person does not yield the right of way to a person operating a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, motor assisted scooter or motorized wheelchair upon a bicycle lane. This requires the vehicle to yield to the cyclist before initiating the right turn across the bike lane. Many drivers insurance companies will deny fault and claim the cyclist was traveling too fast, or not paying attention, or that the law requires the car to make the right turn as close as practicable to the curb. Some insurance companies will seek payment from the cyclist for the damage to the vehicle. If you were injured or know someone that was hurt in a right hook crash, call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for a free personal injury consultation. Please note this post is for informational purposes only and you should contact an attorney about your case immediately.