cars waiting in intersection, making a hook turn

Swinging the Hook

Returning to William Street in the city of Melbourne (having first appeared here in Latest Thinking) for a closer example of the confusion hook turns add. The Australian Road Rule being:

34 Making a hook turn at a hook turn only sign

(1) A driver turning right at an intersection with traffic lights and a hook turn only sign must turn right by making a hook turn in accordance with this rule.

(2) To make a hook turn, the driver must take, in sequence, each of the following steps:

1 Approach and enter the intersection from as near as practicable to the far left side of the road that the driver is leaving.
2 Move forward, keeping as near as practicable to the left of the intersection and clear of any marked foot crossing, until the driver is as near as practicable to the far side of the road that the driver is entering.
3 Remain at the position reached under step 2 until the traffic lights on the road that the driver is entering change to green.
4 Turn right into that road.

Included in the original document a little image to illustrate:

hook turn illustration

Back on William Street the two cars on the left are stopped in the intersection waiting for the lights to turn red, before they will then turn right once the intersection is clear, all the while indicating right as pictured. This intersection was upgraded recently with a box to further direct traffic exactly where to stop, leaving a neat gap between the pedestrian crossing and the cars which of course filled with pedestrians.

cars waiting in intersection, making a hook turn

In the experimental approach that seems to have been taken with road treatments along this Street some of the intersections mark this gap between the cars and pedestrian crossing as a bicycle lane, but this one does not. None of the intersections continue a bicycle lane through, even when it is brought along the left kerb or between the lanes right up to the entry (a future post to come). Cars turning left or queuing for the hook turn close to the kerb will block passage to their left forcing cyclists to overtake on their right, and exiting the intersection from the left is similarly challenging with parked cars featuring at the exit as pictured above necessitating some tight chicanes to navigate.

Trying to ride to the right of the waiting cars is fraught with danger when a driver changes their mind and pulls out to continue straight ahead, or wanting to go straight through pulls to the right to overtake the queued cars making a hook turn. Noting that the indication for pulling out of the queue is in fact the same as that for cars waiting! Sadly due to Austroads guidelines only providing for paths to be continued across signalised intersection and that lanes should not, we cant have the obvious solution of a marked lane across the intersection. Making this one of the few situations where all cyclists might support a completely separated off-road path as illustrated here:

illustration of paths continued across intersection

Still not a good solution when compared to continuing lanes through complex intersections such as these, but first we’ll need to get the bicycle lanes to actually make it to the intersection.

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