While I feel that, in general, the lane is the safest place to ride (absent well implemented bike infrastructure), I recognize that there are circumstances that make it less safe than other options. When high speed streets are unavoidable, especially streets with speed limits of 40 or more, if there is no bike lane, I ride on the sidewalk (or shoulder). If there's no sidewalk (or shoulder), I'll ride in parking lots or on the grass where a sidewalk would be.
Sure, I have a right to the lane, but I don't feel that the increased closing speeds allow me to assert my right safely. I've had some close calls in the lane on such roads, including one time where I heard the chirping of tires on a swerving SUV just before it screamed by, his paint only 2-3 inches away from my bar. I have no idea how my head escaped his passenger side mirror.
I usually ride where the closing speeds are lowest. On most roads I ride, that means in the lane, but when closing speeds are lower on the sidewalk, I make no apologies for pedaling there.