Louisville cyclists know to watch out for the right hook. If they don’t, they understand that it can bring serious injury or even death. A right hook in cycling is when a car turns right at an intersection into the path of a cyclist riding to the right of the car, which can cause devastating injuries to the bike rider
Right hooks happen under two main scenarios. The most common is when a cyclist is unseen by a driver who turns into the path of the bicycle to make a right-hand turn. If there is a bike lane, the driver often doesn’t look in the bike lane before entering the lane to turn right.
Less common is when a big rig truck—especially a tractor-trailer—wants to turn right but has to swing out to the left a bit so that the back wheels will avoid hitting the curb when they turn right. The cyclist sees this newly open space and moves up into it just to have the truck turn to the right and hit the cyclist. Unfortunately, in all too many of these, the cyclist is run over by the back wheels of the truck.
Louisville Bicycle Right Hook Law
In addition to the state’s laws on the operation of a bicycle, the city of Louisville has added some protection to cyclists from getting injured by a right hook. The City of Louisville Codes and Regulations 74.03 states that the city has the right to establish bike lanes that are exclusive to bikes giving them the right-of-way over vehicles.
This means that a motor vehicle is prohibited from riding in the bike lane, except to get to a parking spot or to turn right, but when entering the bike lane to do either, the motorist must look for cyclists and yield to them when in the lane.
Riding on the Right-Hand Side of the Road
In Kentucky, a bicycle is to ride on the right-hand side of a street and in the farthest right lane. However, the law allows for exceptions to avoid accidents, like a right hook and dooring.
Bikes may move from the right lane to the left when:
- Turning left
- Passing a slower vehicle
- Lane is too narrow
- To avoid contact with right-hand turning vehicles (avoid the right hook)
- To avoid a row of parked cars or a stopped car (avoid a dooring accident)
- To avoid any hazardous or unsafe circumstance
Who’s at Fault in a Right Hook Crash?
Under Kentucky law, proving that a motorist violated a right hook law or any vehicle code doesn’t automatically make the motorist at fault in a civil suit for damages. This means that the cyclist has to show to the court that by not obeying the traffic code, the motorist negligently injured the cyclist. In most right hook accidents, the jury will most likely find that the motorist was negligent by not giving the cyclist the right-of-way. If that happens, then the driver’s insurance company will pay compensation to the victim.
However, the insurance company is usually not just going to concede that their client was negligent. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we have the experience to go against the insurance companies to get justice for our injured clients.
Accident victims often wonder if they need an attorney, and the answer is almost always yes. The insurance company agents have years of experience and are good at their job which is to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all. You need someone just as experienced to help you level the field. Talk to someone you can trust to be on your side and get you what is yours under the law.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have that knowledge and a combined 100 years’ experience in helping clients get the results they deserve. To discuss your case, call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC today, at (800) 937-8443 or click here to contact them online.