One small, determined, skillful animal controls and directs a herd of larger beasts. The border collie sets another example traffic cyclists can use.
Yesterday on a narrow country road with a fairly low traffic volume, two or three vehicles were coming up behind me as two or three vehicles approached from the opposite direction. I could tell by the way the oncoming motorists were maneuvering that the ones behind me were slowing down because no one knew exactly what to do. Large, confused beasts would all end up clustered in the same piece of road with me unless I took control of the situation.
Ever notice how that almost always happens? Left to sort things out for themselves, motorists approaching a cyclist from opposite directions always synchronize their speed so that all road users pass at the same time, uncomfortably squeezed. It's not malicious. The motorists generally want to slow down to make things safer. They just don't realize that both sets of drivers unconsciously match approach speeds because they're afraid that everyone will converge, which they inevitably do.
When traffic volume permits it, herd the beasts. Yesterday I swung into the traffic lane as soon as I saw how things were shaping up. This blocked the drivers behind me, forcing them to slow down sufficiently to let the oncoming motorists come through. The instant the oncoming motorists had cleared, I snapped back to the right to release the overtaking set.
No one honked. No one yelled. No one stomped the gas pedal and made a big fuss about resuming their speed. They all got it. I thought so they didn't have to.
On high-volume streets a bicyclist can't herd this way. A very fit rider can do some directing, but the metaphor shifts to running with the bulls or charging down white water when the motor vehicles are close together and numerous, but not yet numerous enough to get seriously in each other's way. Just keep the border collie in mind in case you can use the technique.