"...I see cyclists running stop signs like immortal, entitled fools. So I understand the impulse to see cyclists as recreational risk takers who deserve their fate."
If you take a chance and get hit it's your fault and I can see how it would be hard to identify with a cyclist who rides in such a manner,BUT even following the laws yourself has no control over other peoples actions. On a bike you ride defensively, or should be.
He wrote a story based on being a new cyclist, middle aged, riding a "fixie" in the city and veterans know the ins and outs better and what may look like taking a chance is normal for an experienced rider.
When I ride side streets I slow as I approach the stop and if no one is around I keep pedaling and even if I come to a stop the majority of the time the driver waves me through!
I'm not sure how riding further to the left is going to make a difference. The driver was either intentionally trying to drive close to Steve or drunk out of his mind. In the first case, the driver would have shifted over a little but would have still buzzed/clipped Steve. In the second case, the driver may well have hit him.
Sorry to hear about your experience Steve. Sheridan Road in Kenilworth at 7:30am Sunday has more bikes than cars. It is THE "Biker's Highway" on the North Shore at that hour. And there are a lot of Kenilworth residents that are outraged at all the bike traffic in front of their million-dollar homes. My guess is that he was trying to scare you...and hit you with his mirror by mistake. Again the best defense in that situation IMO would be to ride further to the left, so that the driver would have had to use a bit more care to pass.