What is a Hook Turn?
A hook turn, in Australia, is when you perform a right turn from the lefthand lane. It takes you to the outermost lane on the road, by going around the traffic in the middle and far right lanes.
The purpose of a hook turn is twofold. One, it minimises the risk of a pile-up of congested traffic at city intersections. Next, hook turns are specifically enforced for Melburniuns to avoid oncoming trams safely. Ah, the iconic Melbourne tram! As quaint as trams are, without hook turns, they have the potential to be quite a hazard on the roads.
In case you’re wondering, this is what a hook turn sign looks like in Melbourne:
Melbourne Hook Turns: What are the Rules?
Hook turns are only permitted in certain circumstances. For instance, you’re only really allowed to perform a hook turn when the hook turn road sign is on display. You also need to make sure that your right indicator is on so that other drivers are aware of what you’re doing.
But how do you actually do a hook turn? Just keep reading to find out!
How Do I Do a Hook Turn?
Step One: Get into the far lefthand lane, on the outer edge of the road.
Step Two: Make sure your right indicator is on!
Step Three: Cross the traffic lights (when they are green), staying on the outer left side of the intersection.
Step Four: Wait until the traffic lights ahead of you turn red, and the lights on the road you’re turning onto are green.
Step 5: Perform your hook turn to the right.
Granted, this all sounds pretty complicated! But with practice, you’ll get your hook turn down pat in no time.
Are Hook Turns Only in Melbourne?
Many of us seem to think (incorrectly) that hook turns are only found in Melbourne!
However, this is wrong. There are also hook turns in other cities across the world – including in parts of Asia (namely, Beijing, Shanghai and Tawain, as well as throughout Japan), in some states of North America, and Europe (in Germany and the Netherlands, specifically). Adelaide, South Australia is another Australian city that, just like Melbourne, also has hook turns.
Hook turns in Melbourne: Where are They?
So, where are the hook turn hotspots located in Melbourne? Here’s a list of the main intersections where you’ll find a hook turn in Melbourne’s CBD and inner suburbs:
- Bourke Street – at William, Queen, Russell and Exhibition Streets
- Collins Street – at Spencer, King, William, Queen, Elizabeth, Russell and Exhibition Streets
- Clarendon Street – at York, Coventry, Dorcas and Park Streets
- Elizabeth Street – at Franklin, La Trobe, Lonsdale and Collins Streets
- La Trobe Street – at William, Queen, Elizabeth, Swanston, Russell and Exhibition Streets
- William Street – at La Trobe, Lonsdale, Bourke and Collins Streets
Do Bicycles Have to Do Hook Turns?
No, bicycles aren’t obligated to perform hook turns in Melbourne.
However, hook turns can be a safer option for cyclists, keeping them out of harm’s way of surrounding traffic. In addition to this, hook turns can help cyclists avoid collisions with oncoming trams.