Image of white bicycle symbol in box box on an asphalt road.
Hook-turn boxes come to Hobart

The recent cycling treatment upgrade on Hobart’s Argyle Street has prompted the question: “What are those weird white boxes in the intersections?”

The upgrade includes bicycle storage, or holding, boxes at all intersections and some short sections of separated lanes on the approach to intersections.

It also includes two bicycle hook-turn boxes at the intersections of Liverpool and Argyle streets and Bathurst and Argyle streets. These boxes provide a space for bike riders to stop and wait to execute a hook turn.

They have been painted in preparation for cycleways being installed on Liverpool and Bathurst streets on the blocks between Campbell and Argyle streets.

Bathurst Street will get a separated cycleway similar to the Campbell Street set up and Liverpool Street will get a cycling path next to the footpath on the length of the public hospital block.

When these are in place, it will be easier to do a hook turn to turn right than to move into the right-hand lane.

Diagrams from the Australian Road Rules showing how to execute a hook turn.

Bicycle hook turns are legal in Tasmania under the Road Rules 2009 but are not commonly executed.

They are useful on some multi-lane one-way roads, where heavy traffic can make it difficult to cross over into the right lane.

When a bicycle hook-turn box is marked on the road, riders must use it. Where a box is not marked, riders may execute a hook turn by following the procedure below: 

Hook-turn know-how  

 If you want to turn right from the left-hand side of the road:

  1. Enter the intersection as far to the left as possible
  2. Take a position that will allow you to head right into the intersecting road but ensure it keeps the left lane clear for cars turning left and driving straight ahead, and does not block a marked pedestrian crossing
  3. If there are no traffic lights, give way to any drivers before turning
  4. If there are traffic lights, wait until the lights on the road you are turning into change to green before turning right.

Riders must not make a hook turn if there is a “No Hook Turn by Bicycles” sign.
The legal requirements can be found in section 35, Division 3, Part 4 of the Road Rules 2009.