Distance=Reaction time. Just as cars should increase their distance at increased speeds ( to allow for additional braking time), cyclists should obey this rule to a fault for their own safety. Defensive riding is a must especially when one’s own life is on the line. Weather, decreased visibility and speeds are all important factors to consider for safety. Added braking distances and poor visibility- especially by drivers peering out through wet windshields- are additional risk factors. Putting yourself in the position of the driver can help imagine these different vantage points: “I can see you but can you see me?”
Provide enough space (3 feet) to avoid doors(Fig.1), u-turns from parked or moving traffic or pedestrians emerging from behind cars/ in front of busses. Increased distances add additional reaction time esp. in cases of emerging or oncoming traffic. Riding in the middle of your lane (if possible) can give you added reaction time- and room for evasive maneuvering if a car fails to fully stop or look for traffic (you).