I don't ride in fear, but I just automatically presume any oncoming car could turn in front of me at any time, either with or without signalling. It could be at an intersection, or anywhere else like a driveway or entrance to a parking lot where somebody suddenly realizes they need to turn in and do so abruptly or without signalling. They might be trying to beat the car behind you without even realizing you're there.
I certainly have nothing against hi-viz gear. I wear one of those fluorescent construction workers' vests when I ride at night, but not in the daytime. When wearing hi-viz gear, I think it's important to remember not to have a false sense of security and think, "I've got all this on: they've GOT to see me."
Always presume they're going to abruptly turn in front of you and have the best avoidance strategy you can come up with if they do.
I actually worry more about cars behind me because they're a lot harder to keep track of in the mirrors. They're harder to see and it's much harder to judge how fast they're coming up on you.
When I come up to a light at a busy intersection, if I can see I'm going to be the first person waiting at the light, I'll try to slow and get in another lane where there's a car ahead of me. I always stay in first and go ahead and turn my front wheel to whatever side seems best and keep me eyes on the mirrors.
That way, if I see a car coming up behind me that's not going to stop, my front wheel's already turned and if worst comes to worst and time is critical, I can just dump the clutch and either go between the cars ahead of me, or just jump the curb if I'm in the outside lane.
I figure I'd rather get between the two cars ahead of me for a little protection. If you're the first person at the light and somebody's going to hit you from behind, the only place to go is forward and that's going to be right into the crossing traffic where you don't stand much of a chance unless you get really lucky.
Of course, with this technique, you run the risk of being smashed between the car behind you and the car in front of you, but this would be dependent on whether or not you saw the car approaching from the rear. If you don't see it at all and you're the first vehicle stopped at the light, you're still going to first be hit from behind, and then pushed out into the crossing traffic and most likely be hit again or run over after you're off the bike.
It's hard to beat the old saying, "Ride Like You're Invisible."
Last edited by planalp; 01-25-2012 at 08:51 AM.