I frequently see cyclists advised to “make eye contact” with motorists. I also see cyclists relate stories of a collision that occurs immediately after “the motorist looked straight at me.” Personally, I think “eye contact” advice is in the pretty useless category. Collisions occur because two objects have a course that intersects a given point at the same instant. Should such a situation occur, whether the two parties are making eye contact is irrelevant.
Considered carefully, this would seem to be pretty obvious. All good road users look at LOTS of different things as they proceed down any road. We look at the car ahead, we do head checks and mirror checks. We scan the side streets and the occupancy status of parked cars. There is a lot going on, and it behooves us to be aware to be safe. When I took driver’s ed, I was taught to keep my eyes MOVING.
Because there is a lot going on, IMHO, one should not depend on the results of an apparent “eye contact” as a primary indication of what a motorist intends to do next, and especially not if you are moving along the road when this “eye contact” occurs. Certainly, I try to pay attention to what the eyes and heads of motorists that may affect me are doing, but I find it is usually only one indicator, among many, of what the motorist is going to do. When it’s dark, or I’m moving quickly, it is not usually even that. If I were to come up with my own oversimplified advice, I’d say “watch the wheels.” It’s much easier to tell if a car’s wheels are turning and moving, than to glean similarly useful information from a motorist’s glance. Best, of course, is to look at the total situation, and adjust your actions to protect against possible choices that can put you or your motorist at risk.
PS: Had I actually been riding, instead of standing and taking photos, this might have been a situation in which a "Quick Turn" might have come in handy. "Quick Turns" are a skill which can be acquired in Traffic 101, but which isn't used in daily riding. You might never need to make one on the road, but it is a skill that might save your life. I periodically practice "Quick Turns" in an empty parking lot.