Should I buy a Bike Mirror?

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by RyanScribner, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. RyanScribner

    RyanScribner New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bike on paths and sometimes streets, would this be a good investment?
     
    Tags:


  2. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    27
    I hope a bunch of people respond to this thread. Because I don't think there is a solid yes or no answer. I'd like to learn for other peoples feedback myself.

    I use a clip-on mirror on my cycling glasses (yes I wear protective eye wear). If I didn't think a mirror lowered risk or otherwise added some level of safety and/or convenience I wouldn't use one. But sometimes I have also wondered if the mirror is as much a distraction as an aid.

    I also wear a helmet. If I forget my helmet I return home to get it. If forget my mirror I go ahead and ride. If I forget my cycling glasses then I will be wearing regular glasses which are protective enough [for me].
     
  3. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    34
    I've been using a mirror for many years. It's like wearing a helmet to me now, I just don't feel right if I don't have it.
     
  4. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    10,605
    Likes Received:
    341
    Never have ,I rely on my hearing and great peripherial vision but it also depends on the area where you ride. So far so good.
     
  5. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    30
    I don't have one and have never tried one. At some point, I may get one to try, but I prefer to use my hearing and maintain the skill of turning my head to look while continuing to ride in a straight line.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Likes Received:
    90
    I have used several types. When the mirrors stay put and stay clean, they can be really handy. The problem is that few stay put and the ones I have don't stay very clean either.

    Many of they guys I ride with use the type that replaces a bar end plug on the drops. This works pretty well but is easy to knock out of alignment and I usually sweat all over it. I had another that mounted to the left shift lever - the visibility was great, but bumps would knock it around and it eventually broke off the plastic tab on the top of the shifter.

    When you have a mirror and then loose it - you will miss it. They were especially great for doing rides with weaker riders, I didn't have to constantly turn or shout out to check if my pace was killing them.
     
  7. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    161
    If you're going to get a mirror, get one that mounts to your helmet or glasses (if you wear any when riding). For mirrors of the given size, the one closer to your eye will have bigger field of view. If the distance from your eye to a helmet or glasses mounted mirror is x and the distance from your eye to a handlebar mounted mirror is 4x, the helmet mounted version will have 4x the field of view of the handlebar mounted version. Another benefit of a helmet or glasses mounted mirror is that they are much less sensitive to bumps in the road and tend to not blur like handlebar mounted mirrors. You can feel the bumps that are transmitted your handlebars, but much of the acceleration from those bumps is damped by your body, leaving little to no jitter in the image viewed via a helmet or glasses mounted mirror. Here are some that people talk well of: Glasses Mounted: Take a Look Mirror Bottle Cap MIrror Beer View Bicycle Mirror Helmet Mounted: Third Eye helmet mounted mirror Safety Zone helmet mounted bicycle mirror
     
  8. ben80south

    ben80south New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used to have a mirror attached to my handle bars, but like the one on my glasses much more. As alienator said, most of the jitters and bumps are eliminated so you have a clear view of behind you.

    I have trouble riding without it now. Occasionally it seems like a distraction, but being able to quickly look and accurately judge when a car will pass you and how close is definitely worth it. Would you want to drive a car without mirrors?
     
  9. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    17
    I like the cheapie kind that mounts tool-less on the handlebars and has a a flexible stem.
    It's a nice additional help when riding in traffic, but you should ALWAYS look over your shoulder as well.
     
  10. Dancer73

    Dancer73 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have tried handlebar end mirrors, but had to keep adjusting them from vibration. Tried glasses mounted mirrors but found them too distracting for me. I just depend on my hearing. As soon as I hear a vehicle close behind, I quickly look back and nod. It is amazing how many drivers will move over a bit to give me room, in fact some even wave back.
     
  11. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    I use a Cycleaware helmet-mounted mirror. It's on a ball-joint type connection, easy to pop off or swing down out of the way for photo-op events. I don't find the left-eye mirror distracting, but that could be because my left eye isn't the dominant one. The mirror is adjusted a bit high and to the outside of the straight-ahead FOV. Believe anyone could get used to them in a few rides.

    We have no shoulders here on most roads, many distracted drivers, no laws protecting cyclists and weak traffic enforcement. Being able to quickly glance back to check on the actions of the closing car is important to me. I wouldn't want to drive a car or motorcycle without rear view mirrors, and believe they are even more important for cyclists.
     
  12. vspa

    vspa Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,203
    Likes Received:
    39
    i still have good enough hearing to asses how far and how fast is the vehicle coming from behind,
     
  13. J1780

    J1780 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I rely on my hearing. I guess thats not so bad as I live in a rural area and the cycle to work is 18km alot of which is rural and then a road with plenty of hard shoulder before entering a town. I set off before traffic hits the main road and town. I've often though of one but am not sure what it would do to get a mirror on my commute.
     
  14. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    If you've got a wide shoulder to ride on all the way to town you probably don't need to worry about a mirror. Around here, rural roads have no shoulders, so we have to rely on cars to see us and pass safely. I can normally hear cars coming from behind, but not always until they are right on me. Believe it may depend on wind conditions. When I hear a car approaching, that's when I use the mirror, to check and make sure the car is pulling over to pass.. There's no way my ears would tell me that. Also no way I can glance back long enough to make that determination without risking losing my line on the road at precisely the most dangerous time, when the car is about to overtake.

    Some serious riders here feel that it does no good to see what the car is doing behind, because if they don't move over, we can't react fast enough to leave the road and avoid being hit. The point may be valid; maybe the mirror provides a false sense of security. But I want every opportunity to avoid becoming another statistic......getting hit from behind on rural roads is the leading cause of fatal cycling accidents for the type of cyclists I know and ride with. Same reason I use a bright flashing daytime taillight.
     
  15. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    17
    A mirror on a bike is very much like the mirrors of a car (or guitar tab): A nice additional help, but NEVER intended as a replacement for actually looking over your shoulder and paying attention (or learning to read music).
     
  16. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    I rely on mine all the time without looking over my shoulder. In fact, I get a much clearer and longer view from my helmet-mounted mirror than I ever would by a quick glance relying on peripheral vision. Same when I'm driving the car: I rely on all three mirrors when changing lanes, and virtually never look back which would require taking my eyes off the road for a longer period of time. Mirrors are required on modern cars because they are the only way to drive safely in traffic on multi-lane roads, not because they are some kind of crutch for beginners.

    My though is that anyone interested in really "paying attention" on a bike should use a mirror. A few of my riding buddies still don't use them, and they say it's because they really don't need to pay attention to what's coming from behind. Their opinion is that it's the drivers obligation to keep clear when passing, and if they fail to do that, there's nothing the cyclist can do anyway....you're going to be hit. In other words, using a mirror to constantly check and call out "car back", or "car passing" is a useless act, because a cyclist can't leave the traffic lane fast enough to avoid being hit anyway. I admit that argument (for not using a mirror) may be valid, but for me the clear view back gives a sense of security that I wouldn't have otherwise.
     
  17. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    0
    I say "bull" to that... at least in my area, you can see a car coming up to you and you can look at them for a bit longer period than using the neck swivel... There have been times where either the driver coming up seemed a bit wobbly or a truck that seemed to require more than the average space on the road, and I was able to pullover and let them pass...
     
  18. RonSwanson

    RonSwanson New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    1
    Some people have success with clip-on mirrors,I personally think they have some uses. Good way to see drivers coming up. Like someone said, mirrors aren't a substitute for looking behind you!
     
  19. LanceRides

    LanceRides New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a post that talks about mirror use in NYC traffic:

    "I’m an adamant mirror user; if I leave my apartment having forgotten my mirror, I go back up to get it. A bike mirror reduces that tense feeling you get from not knowing what’s coming up behind you. Increased awareness leads to a more fluid, more involved style of riding."

    full post:
    http://www.virtuousbicycle.com/BlogSpace/bikemirrors/

    Lance
     
  20. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    2
    I bought one 'recently.' Perhaps 4 or 5 years ago.

    It is definitely helpful. You don't have to turn your head every 5 feet whenever you hear a car coming. I still turn my head sometimes, but having the mirror is a bit of a luxury since I don't HAVE to. Of course, I don't rely on the mirror if I'm turning left against possible traffic. That should go without saying.

    The mirror can and does get knocked out of position. If I leave it loose enough for easy adjustment, it gets knocked out of position rather easily. If I leave it tight so it won't easily get knocked out of position, it's difficult or impossible to adjust on the fly.

    Also, using a mirror means I can only lean one side of the handlebar against a wall. A relatively minor consideration, but still an inconvenience, if only a minor one.

    Overall, you should buy a mirror. It's very useful, and costs next to nothing.
     
Loading...
Loading...