Turning right

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Turning right

Postby suzieQ » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:12 pm

Hi guys,

As a relative newbie I'm curious as to how everyone approaches the whole turning right on major roads thing (when there are quite a few cars that is).

I've discussed with some people and reactions seem to be mixed as to whether I should act as a car would and stop/signal/wait or leave the road and take the pedestrian crossing.

Any experienced opinions out there??

(If this has been asked many times please point me in the right direction as I can't find it anywhere!)
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by BNA » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:19 pm

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Postby heavymetal » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:19 pm

I'm in WA, so I don't know if it is legal in all states, but if it's busy I do a hook turn. It's recommended here by the DPI (Gov cycling body) if one is not comfortable with right hand turns.

A hook turn means you stay in the left hand lane and cross the intersection when the light is green, then stop, and turn bike to the right and WAIT for the light in that direction to change to green. Then ride on.

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Turning Right

Postby MJP Wilson » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:35 pm

Hey suzieQ, what I do depends on the situation. I am very car and pedestrian aware. Normally, I do not ride in the 'CBD' during peak periods. However, if in traffic at controlled lights and turning right I will do a hook as described by 'heavymetal'. If I'm approaching a controlled 'line marked' intersection and it is clear behind, I generally follow the markings and go with the flow. Be aware and always expect the unexpected.
regards and have a grand cycle day!

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Postby simonn » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:40 pm

Unless the junction is really busy I turn right like a car.

If it is busy, particularly with multiple lane roads, I'll do a hook turn:

http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/fragv ... N?tocnav=y

Saying that though, you have to take each junction as it comes.

There is one set of traffic lights on my commute where I turn right which has three lanes.

Right most is right only.
Middle lane is right turn or straight on.
Left lane is straight ahead only.

The right turn is into a dual lane per side road with no parking with a 5-6% uphill gradient. The road is also busy.

If the right turn signal is on when I arrive at the junction, I will merge into the middle lane and go right.

If the right turn signal is stopped, but there is a car indicating to turn right and waiting in the middle lane, I will jump in behind it.

Otherwise I will use the pedestrian crossing as I feel far to vulnerable to traffic going straight ahead in the middle lane.

The right hand lane is a no go as it would be almost impossible to merge back into the left lane going up hill.
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Postby leximack » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:42 pm

i do a hook turn as others have described, pretty much every time in traffic. I feel its the safest option.
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Postby sharktamin » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:39 pm

The bottom line is to do whatever makes you the safest.

Generally I consider myself like a car, however on multi lane roads this means, merging right up to a kilometer before the intersection to give myself half a chance of getting across.
Then where there is multipole right hand turn lanes deciding to either go across to the median strip for the turn (safer) and then riding in the right hand turn perhaps for 2 km until I can merge left again, or using the left most right hand turn lane so that at the lights I am in the centre of the traffic soup with vehicles passing or arriving on all sides just so that after the turn I am on the LHS of the road.
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Postby sharktamin » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:45 pm

leximack wrote:i do a hook turn as others have described, pretty much every time in traffic. I feel its the safest option.


I can see the sense in this, but there are exceptions...
I often travel with a trailer, and I don't mean a Bob, mine is nearly 90 cm wide, try turning that sharply in heavy traffic, and I can't imagine doing a hook turn on a tandem or a recumbent trike either!
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Postby hartleymartin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:14 am

If there is a right-turn only lane, you can do it from there.

Otherwise, hook turns as previously described are your best option.

You have to make a judgement for each intersection that you encounter. If you have a regular commute, try and establish a best-route for yourself. I made mine slightly longer by taking a quieter road which runs parallel to the main road, but it is a lot safer. Arguably I can ride faster too, because I do not encounter any traffic.
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Postby wombatK » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:33 am

Act like a car - it's what road users expect.

Step 1 in acting like a car is to have a good rear vision mirror, so that you are aware what the traffic behind you is doing. Still need to head-check, but a mirror gives you a great start in finding a comfortable break in the traffic for your turn.

In light traffic, moving across to the right turn lanes is then usually not difficult. In heavy traffic, traffic speed falls and merging right is not so hard if you signal clearly what your intentions are. Step 2 in acting like a car: give good hand signals, and Step 3: move decisively when clear

For me, hook turns are a last resort - while perfectly legal, you often see motorists jaws drop when you pull up in front of them; it comes across like queue-jumping or pushing in, and is too much for some motorists patience. If you use them, try to let the traffic go before you set off from the hook turn (to claim you lane). Maybe a good option until you build up some road experience and confidence.

I try to plan my route so that I don't need to resort to them.
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Postby Mulger bill » Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:56 pm

G'Day Suzie, welcome outside. :)

Hook turns in Melbourne aren't an issue for our drivers, go for your life. :wink:
Really tho', each intersection has to be approached differently as no two are alike. Take the lane and ride like a car if circumstances allow, hook turn or use the ped lights if not. How about making the run at low speed on a day off to scout the ground? Take your time and explore, you might find a better way to get there.

Cheers
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Postby suzieQ » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:02 pm

Thanks guys for all the responses!

I never even through of doing a hook turn, at the moment I really only have to turn right a couple of times in my commute so it's not too bad and the more I ride the more comfortable I am doing it.

However when I ride to the gym I have to do a few and on reasonably busy roads which is where I'm currently just trying out diff ways and seeing what is best for each situation.
I do feel a little odd going ahead of cars as I know I'm far far slower but we cyclists are just as entitled to turn right as cars so I'm not gonna be too timid :D

I think I'll continue trying different ways as suggested and as i progress in experience my way of riding will probably change.

Again thank you very much for all the advice!
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Postby Pax » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:49 pm

My approach is to be very definite in my actions AND in signaling them.

Behave like a car,

I signal, move very definitely from lane to lane to lane (if 3 lanes)...not a slow tentative move. Own whichever lane I am in ESPECIALLY once I am in the middle or right hand lanes.

Aim to spend as little time as possible in the middle lane.

If the traffic is cr@p and it is unsafe to get across, do a hook or cross like a pedestrian, or try the next corner (none of these are my favourite option but all are better than getting squashed :D :shock: )
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Postby Streetsweeper » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:59 am

The hook turn option always gives some flexibility for right turn at 4 way intersection.

I'm still trying to work out the best option for a T-intersection with a long uphill approach to turning right from the busy 4 lane through street. The right hand lane has the option to either turn or go straight ahead.

My normal practice to date is to take the footpath about 200m before the intersection and cross with the pedestrian signal. :cry:

I might have to lobby council/RTA to have the right hand lane restricted to right turn only. That might give me a little more comfort for an on road right turn.
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Postby nimm » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:57 pm

Yeah I merge over and behave as a car but sometimes the traffic is too thick and fast to do that safely. I didn't think about hook turns in these cases though, I'll give it a shot next time - thanks!
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Postby m@ » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:02 pm

Pax wrote:My approach is to be very definite in my actions AND in signaling them.

Behave like a car,

I signal, move very definitely from lane to lane to lane (if 3 lanes)...not a slow tentative move. Own whichever lane I am in ESPECIALLY once I am in the middle or right hand lanes.

Aim to spend as little time as possible in the middle lane.

If the traffic is cr(AT)p and it is unsafe to get across, do a hook or cross like a pedestrian, or try the next corner (none of these are my favourite option but all are better than getting squashed :D :shock: )


+1, agree with this 100%

I have a doozy of a corner on my commute though, similar to the one Streetsweeper describes; steep uphill section of two-lane main road, I need to turn right at a traffic-light controlled T-junction at the top of the hill. There is a short section of right-turn-only lane right at the intersection. The speed differential is too great for changing lanes to be even remotely possible if there's other traffic; hook turns are out as the side street does not continue on the LHS of the road and there is no pedestrian crossing on the far side of the intersection; and the lane at the intersection is very narrow, with a fence between the road and footpath so pulling up and waiting for the pedestrian crossing is also impossible.

If I'm unable to cross to the right-turn lane because of heavy traffic, I basically have no option but to continue on to the next intersection. If I'm late and the traffic is heavy, I'll sometimes pull off onto the footpath 50m before the intersection (where it's wider with no fence) and cross at the pedestrian crossing.
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Postby suzieQ » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:36 pm

I have to agree being deifinite in your actions is so so so important, if you make it clear what you're doing then others can read your actions.

it is very difficult to get out of the 'I have to give way to everyone because I'm a vulnerable little bike' mentality though!
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Postby soennecken » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:57 pm

Plan your trip so that you don't have to turn right at busy intersections. At some city intersections, it's better to dismount and cross with the pedestrians. Otherwise, stick your right arm out and do as the road rules demand.
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Postby martinjs » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:16 pm

For me it depends on the situation, if it's busy or I'm with the family we do Hook turns, If there's no traffic or a break in the traffic and I've got room I signal move to the center of the road and do it as a car would. (except the car doesn't lean over :lol: )
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