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What Is a Right Hook Accident?

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Posted on April 4, 2023

A right hook accident is a type of bicycle accident that occurs when a cyclist is riding to the right of a motor vehicle and the motorist turns right, not allowing the bicyclist enough time or space to avoid a collision. These accidents can be deadly for bicyclists, who may crash into the motor vehicle or fall beneath the tires. At Vanguard Attorneys, our Tampa bicycle accident lawyers can help if you or a loved one has been injured in a right hook accident in Tampa.

Why Do Right Hook Accidents Happen?

Bicyclists in Florida have the right to share the road with motorists. Unfortunately, negligent and distracted motor vehicle drivers put bicyclists at risk. A right hook accident occurs when a car passes to the left of a cyclist, then makes a right turn in front of the cyclist. This type of crash can occur when a motorist turns onto a road or into a parking lot or driveway. It is also common at intersections when a bicyclist proceeds straight and a driver makes a right turn into the bike.

Drivers can make many errors that result in right hook accidents, including:

  • Driver inattention
  • Distracted driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Running a stop sign or stop light
  • Failing to signal the turn
  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Speeding
  • Unsafe or illegal turns
  • Misjudging the speed or distance of a biker
  • Driving in a bicycle lane
  • Aggressive or road-rage driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If a driver fails to notice a bicyclist to his or her right or barely passes the cyclist before making the turn, he or she could cause a right hook accident. These collisions can cause serious injuries for the cyclist who crashed into the car, including broken bones, head and brain injuries, soft-tissue injuries, back and neck injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

How Is Fault Determined for a Right Hook Accident?

Fault for a right hook accident may seem obvious; it is a motor vehicle driver’s responsibility to be aware of his or her surroundings, pass bicycles safely, signal turns and yield the right-of-way, when necessary. An attentive and prudent driver can prevent right hook accidents by noticing and yielding to bicyclists, and making sure the way is clear of oncoming bikers before turning right. However, in some cases, liability is not as clear.

It is possible for the timing of the accident to be called into question by an insurance company. An insurer may try to determine how much time and space the cyclist had to notice the turning vehicle and stop. If the driver left ample distance but the cyclist wasn’t paying attention and crashed into the car, the driver may not be found at fault. In some cases, fault is divided between both parties.

How to Avoid Right Hook Accidents

As a bicyclist in Tampa, you are at risk of being involved in an accident every time you ride. You can improve your safety by being aware of common crash risks, including right hook accidents, and being proactive about preventing them. To avoid this type of collision, be mindful of any car that is to your left. Assume any vehicle that passes you intends to turn right. Make this assumption even if the vehicle isn’t slowing down or using a turn signal. Many drivers make careless right-hand turns.

Increase your visibility to drivers by wearing bright colors or reflective material. This can help you decrease your crash risk in general. At an intersection, watch the vehicle to your left to see if it is proceeding straight or turning. Be prepared to hit your brakes if the vehicle turns too close to you. Always pay attention to your surroundings and don’t ride while distracted, such as by using headphones or looking at your cell phone. Never try to pass a vehicle that is turning right on the right-hand side.

If you get involved in a right hook accident, contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys for a free consultation about your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation.