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Potential Right Hook Avoided by Quick Thinking

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Uploaded on Apr 7, 2011

Helmet cam video, 4/7/2011, Barbur, southbound, before the second intersection with Hamilton, about 6:45 PM, Portland, Oregon, USA.

What's interesting about this video is what doesn't happen: I avoid a potential right hook. How? By recalling specifics about the route, by putting myself in the place of the VW driver, and by obeying Forrester's rule that you don't pass a car on the right that can turn right (I recall reading this in Forrester's book, _Effective Cycling_.)

Watch the green VW, Oregon plate 334 DDX. At the beginning of the video, 334 DDX does not have his right turn signal on. So, it should be safe for me to proceed, in the bike lane, at least to the back of the bus. Then when the bus finishes servicing the bus stop, the bus will go and I can go too, right?

Wrong.

What you see me do instead is hang back behind 334 DDX. Why? Because I suspected that 334 DDX might turn right. How would I know that? Because there are 2 general purpose lanes to the left of 334 DDX. If he was going south on Barbur, he could merge into one of those lanes and not have to wait behind the bus. OK, you say, maybe 334 DDX is not in a hurry, and just prefers to wait behind the bus and avoid having to do the merge. But, 334 DDX would have to do that merge anyway because the right lane ends, further up ahead on Barbur. I know that because I ride Barbur every day. Even if he wasn't familiar with Barbur, the sign to the right of 334 DDX tells him that he has to merge to the left, ahead.

Even if the right lane did not end, I argue that it's still unwise to proceed down that slot between the VW and the bus. Doing so gains me 20 feet, and a have to sit behind the bus and breathe its fumes. Its just as easy to wait behind the VW. If another car comes along in the right lane, that car's driver is much more likely to see me because I am in front of him and to the right rather than coming up behind him and to the right.

As you can see in the video, I guessed right. The bus does go forward. 334 DDX does belatedly turn on his right turn signal and make his turn. You hear me say, "that's a late signal."

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