Friday, June 20, 2008

Caption Hook

Don’t Get Left Behind - All Right?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Never heard of a hook turn? No worries – I hadn’t heard of 'em either, until I first came to Melbourne as a visitor, back in my days as a globetrotting sportswriter. Because trams operate in this beautiful city, some intersections in the central business district are designated with hook turn signs, to keep traffic moving smoothly.

Let me explain. We drive on the left of the road (you knew that, didn’t you?) but at these intersections you have to make right turns from the left lane. Er, no, I’m not kidding you.

To get the definitive method of performing this splendid manoeuvre, check out Hook Turns and next time you’re in Melbourne, give me a hoy so I can show you exactly how it’s done.

I shot this image this afternoon. Why? Because the sign was crooked and I thought it would make an unusual shot, along with an explanation of one of Melbourne’s quirky road rules.

We go left to go right. Which makes perfect sense, in a laconic Australian sort of way.

Visit Mama Geek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

33 comments:

Working mum said...

Interesting..... I don't think we have that here in the UK. We have "force yourself into the middle of the road and play chicken with the car opposite" to turn right!

blogthatmama said...

Just came for a visit via another blog. Have spent some time thinking about that sign - what if all four lanes are full of people turning right, who has right of way? I could be falling into a trap with that train of thought cos those type of signs always throw my IQ tests! blogthatmama

Momma said...

Interesting concept. I'm with blogthatmama. Who gets right-of-way? We have something sort of similar here in the states. Wide right turns. The signs are on the back of the semi trucks and say something like, "Caution. This vehicle makes wide right turns." There is a graphic of the truck doing so with a car getting hit by turning directly into the right lane. I'll see if I can get a picture of that.

Peace - D

Maggie May said...

I'm lost, david!

Jacki said...

Okay, I think I would get totally confused!! Drivers here in the US have a hard time with stop signs and traffic lights...this would create total chaos!!

Sandpiper said...

Yikes! I'll take a cab!! LOL

Katney said...

I think I actually understand it after checking the traffic site you linked.

Either that or I need my head examined.

Head Gaggler said...

Wow, that would totally confuse me. Great shot.

Lehners in France said...

I've never seen that before. In Jersey they have junctions where nobody has right of way so they "filter in turn." It works very well and keeps the traffic moving. Hire cars however have a huge "H" on them to warn locals that it's a tourist driving and they may mess up. Debs x

Betsy said...

Hmmmm..."Taxi!"

Chris Osborne said...

Why the hook though? We turn left over here without a hook.

San said...

Brilliant study of angles in the top photo. Makes me a little dizzy, as though I'm caught in traffic in a place where I don't know the rules of the road. Your description of your "hook turn" transforms it into a metaphor for those unusual maneuvers we make in life. Moves that seem odd, almost counter-intuitive, but get us where we need to go anyway.

And the bottom shot is ever so lovely. The assertive black-and-white sign almost floats in front of those delicate-colored buildings. Sheer poetry.

ValleyGirl said...

Yeah, I'm lost already, too!! But I think it does make some sense.

Do the trams actually stay parked that long that vehicles behind it can't just wait a moment or two before making their turn? What if the tram starts moving while someone is turning in front of it? This is the part that doesn't make sense to me because both the tram and the car turning right kind of have equal right of way.

Okay, so maybe I don't understand it after all!!

the teach said...

Oh David that would be extremely problematic in New York City! We drove in Australia (Sydney and Cairns). It wasn't tooo bad... Ha!

Middle Ditch said...

It all sounds like double Dutch to me. Hey that is a bit of an insult to myself!! I'm Dutch, but not double!

Kathryn said...

Man! You've got an eye!


I have a nomination for post of the day for you. Lime with this:

http://houseoflime.blogspot.com/2008/06/da-count-wash-lines.html

Charles Gramlich said...

I can see myself having a seizure the first Time I saw one of those signs.

Celebration of Life said...

Go left to go right, three steps forward and two steps back... It's all in the dance of life!

I have a new post this morning and am anxious to read your comment.

Have a great weekend!
Jo

i beati said...

I've got to say It's a good thing I'm not driving there.I have enough trouble open road etc..sk

katherine. said...

if I ever visit australia...I'm gettin' a chauffeur...

April said...

Wow, I'm SO glad you explained then cuz when I first saw the picture my thought was "Huh?" LOL

Mima said...

I've been over to the tourist info site, and still don't think I really get a hook turn, so no driving for me in Sydney! Great photo though!

carrie & troy keiser said...

Um yeah, interesting.... First of all I think I'd have a heard time driving on the other side of the road and then add turning right out of the left lane... nope don't think I could pull it off!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I'm not sure how that would go down over here. Our Highway Code is complicated enough!

CJ xx

Carolyn said...

That settles it. I'm never driving in Australia. I think it's best for me and for all Australians.

CrazyCath said...

Are you sure there's no Irish in your heritage? Or rather the heritage of the one who made up this rule?

I knew you drove on the left (the ONLY way to drive mate!) but this one has me bamboozled. Or it would have if I ever came across it...

MamaGeek said...

Ha, that is just hilarious. I have never seen or heard of that before, you definitely get the unique PSF post this week with that one!

Somehow I'd end up in a wreck following that one.

Cecily R said...

Oh my gosh David, I can barely figure out three way stops!I would be an absolute disaster if I had to drive there!!

I am becoming a HUGE fan of yours by the way. I love the way your eye works and makes me see things in a completely different way than I would have before.

Fabulous PSF. As if I had any doubt.

Corey~living and loving said...

What an interesting post. I learned something today. LOL
have a great weekend David!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Huh? Up the down staircase?!

katydidnot said...

bizarre.

polona said...

makes sense to me... well, sort of :)
great angles on these shots, though

Colin Campbell said...

Very Melbourne.