Instinctive Cycling (IC)
In my experience, the usual VC debate seems a bit too either/or. In the state of nature, a cyclist must, by necessity, be more like a fox than a bear or a political ideologue.
VC and assertive riding may be good general rules, but you must also do what's neccesary to stay safe. Thus, you must be able to read the minds of motorists by looking into their eyes, watching their moves, and deciding in a split second whether to fight or take flight. If that means moving to the right or hopping on the sidewalk for a few yards, then do what you gotta do.
If you're in a dangerous situation, you shouldn't be getting caught up in principle, or worrying whether the VC crowd will stop inviting you to their lunch meetings. I suggest augmenting your general riding philosophy with healthy, well-honed instincts.
Learn to read your motorist, and predict his next move with speed and precision. Think of alternative riding spaces on a particular road, and be ready to jump from one to the other like an alley cat jumping from one fence to the other. Learn how to hop on curbs, stop on a dime, dodge into parking lots or back roads, kick a pit-bull with one foot while pedaling with the other, etc.
Don't let your last words be some incomprehensible muttering about how your run-in with the garbage truck should have gone down. Don't take a dangerous route just to prove it's your right. And most importantly, be sure to always spend more time riding your bike than arguing about it.
I see this as requiring far too much attention that is driven by fear. If you understand the rules of the road, you understand how traffic is supposed to operate. Consider that it will so operate, including you with it, until there is some evidence that some driver is not following the rules. Then, you take the appropriate avoidance action, so far as is possible.
Originally Posted by Kevin666
The idea that you can tell what motorists will do, and avoid that action, by looking at their eyes is wishful superstition. The distances are too great at normal cycling and motoring speeds, and, in most cases, the cyclist is not in position to observe the motorist's eye positioning.
Unlike you, I am just a mere mortal. No x-ray vision, no psychic powers, no catlike agility, no ability to leap tall curbs in a single bound. So I will just have to continue to rely on the order derived from following the vehicular rules of the road for surviving on my bicycle, as I have done for the last fifty plus years. Mere mortals are boring as hell.
Please check in with us in a few years, if you’re still alive, and let us know how it’s going.