What is the most effective way to see traffic coming from behind.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by MotownBikeBoy, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    Mirrors, I am assuming. I just personally never found any that I thought were all that effective or easy to use. The best is the type that mounts on the helmet, but even that is not great, IMHO.

    I was looking online at the OWL rearview camera system, but it gets wretched reviews on Amazon. Mostly just a novelty that doesn't work very well, it seems.

    If I'm going to be riding a lot more on the street, as opposed to safety paths, I'm going to need to keep an eye out for approaching traffic.

    So, what works for you?
     
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  2. Cycle Drama

    Cycle Drama New Member

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    MotownBikeBoy,
    I cannot speak for myself but the eyes my wife has on the back of her head work quite well for her. [​IMG]

    John S
     
  3. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Ears. Head on a swivel.

    Cars, in general, have become much less noisy over the years. Less wind noise, less tire noise, less drivetrain noise. That's good for the occupants. Not so good for cyclists.
     
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  4. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I pretty much agree. The ears are for monitoring the action behind you. A mirror can help. Neither are a substitute for looking over the shoulder before turning or changing lanes.
     
  5. PoorInRichfield

    PoorInRichfield New Member

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    I don't currently use anything, but keep thinking about getting a mirror or something.

    The "Italian mirrors" look interesting. Unfortunately, my road bike is brand new and I don't feel like retaping the handlebars quite yet, otherwise, I'd probably buy one of these and see how it works:

    http://www.italianroadbikemirror.com/

    [​IMG]

    I wonder if it's an "Italian" mirror because the Mafia is always watching their backs? [​IMG]
     
  6. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    I use the Cycleaware helmet-mount mirror, which has a ball-jointed, sefl-stickpad that affixes to the helmet. It easily adjusts, and swings out of the way for photo ops. A buddy I ride with often has a mirror that mounts on his glasses with a wire frame over the earpiece.

    You can get a bar-end mirror like the one you show that fits conventional handlebars. A few of the ex-racers here use them. Believe some are slightly convex to provide a wide-angle effect, like the passenger-side mirror on our cars.

    The helmet mirror works great for me and a lot of other riders here. It allows a quick glance to see if and when that noise I hear coming up behind is moving over to pass, and how much room they intend to leave me. I got used to mirrors on motorcycles, so having one on a bike just seems normal.

    Of course, lots of riders still don't have mirrors here. Reasons not to use them I've heard from fellow riders:

    1. I can see back just fine because I'm skilled and athletic enough to twist my head/neck/back around to get a good look without moving off my line or running into the bike in front.

    2. They don't look racy, none of the pro's use them.

    3. What's behind me doesn't matter, I don't need to see back, it's the vehicle's responsibility to pass me safely.
     
  7. Cycle Drama

    Cycle Drama New Member

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    .....to continue:
    4. I am like Superman...therefore cars cannot hurt me.
    5. I am so fast that no one will ever pass me anyways.
    6. My Ninja-like perception notifies me of oncoming traffic long before it gets to me.

    I could go on...but must get back to work.
     
  8. Vin Stein

    Vin Stein New Member

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    3. What's behind me doesn't matter, I don't need to see back, it's the vehicle's responsibility to pass me safely.

    [​IMG]
    To each their own

    I find that mirror's are not really all that helpful. Just be attentive. When I am on my bike I always am checking to see positions of cars and other obstacles. It is an acquired skill. Most of the time accidents occur is when the cyclist does something to confuse the traffic at least from my experience.
     
  9. Cycle Drama

    Cycle Drama New Member

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    While I find that to be good sound advise....it seems every now and then you get a vehicle that sneaks up on you. It is those pant-soiling moments that always get me.

    Thanks,
    John S
     
  10. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    This. No mirror is as effective as turning your head and looking. I don't even rely totally on my rear and side view mirrors when driving.

    BTW, I only do that when turning, or taking the lane to prepare for a turn. I have enough to worry about concerning what's going on in front of me, or, especially, what stuff approaching from the side is about to do.

    In a group ride setting, if an idiot is dumb enough to overlap my wheel on the inside, a bar end or helmet mirror on the left, where a mirror is most useful, ain't gonna help me much. And I don't make a habit of pulling out to the left in a group without looking to see if I'm clear of someone's wheel, and signalling that I'm going to pull out.
     
  11. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    That is why it is an advantage to live in an area where oversized, rough tread truck tires, glass pack mufflers and rattle traps abound. You can hear a redneck coming from a mile away.
     
  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    All that noise drowned out with a Rebel yell...she cried, "More! More! More!"?

    We have a lot of that up here, too. Diesels make decent decibels, so that's a plus. I rarely get buzzed by a dually rolling stacks a double-dueces. It's usually some asshole in a Toyota Pious wearing their 'enviroMENTALism' on their sleeve. OR some dumb twat on her iPhone 5S updating her Facebook status (Like OMG I'm in my 1994 Subaroo going to Target!).

    I loves me some mudders growling on the pavement and some loud pipes.

    Remember when cars had all those chrome-trimmed rain gutters, radio antennae minus the wind noise killing wire spiraling around it, twin flat mirrors on the doors, a grill with 400 pounds of decorative stainless steel and exposed wipers that generated a vortex large enough to affect landing 747's? You could hear them coming up on you from 1/2-mile back! Add a set of polyglass radials thumping and you could have safely cycled with a 15" Fisher thumping in each ear.
     
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  13. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Situational awareness, head on a pivot, avoiding sudden moves to confuse drivers, and riding as far to the right as is safely possible (rollers are great for developing this part). My intuition tells me that if a driver is in an intoxicated state and not in control of their vehicle (which I feel will not likely be detected with the occasional glance at said mirror but would require somewhat continuous observation to detect thus creating a situation where one is not looking in the direction of travel), OR they are of a malicious mindset to intentionally hit the cyclist, no mirror will allow the cyclist the appropriate time necessary to make the appropriate contingency of motion to avoid collision at automotive speeds.

    I ride my bike as if every driver wishes to run me in, like a ronin expecting the emperor's assassins behind every bush. Do that long enough and eventually it becomes entirely natural and free of anxiety. A minor degree of paranoia can be a healthy thing.

    I would never knock someone for riding with a mirror as we must all take the steps we feel necessary to preserve our own integrity. No headphones, lights, light colored clothing, reflective gear, helmets, gloves, all good stuff.
     
  14. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Being as old enough to identify Trilobite feces from the region it was born in, yes I can.
     
  15. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    I will use "somewhat continuous observation" when I detect a car coming up behind me, until I see the car moving over to pass. It's not hard with a little practice, since the focus can be switched back to forward in well under a second. I've never run off the road while doing this; it's certainly much quicker and more effective for me than trying to turn and peek around over my shoulder.....that's a hard trick to do quickly. With the mirror, I can get a good clear, long look back, which I never felt confident doing by swiveling around.

    But yeah, I may be giving myself too much credit for being able to bail off the road in event a car doesn't pull over to pass safely. I'm just more comfortable knowing what the driver is doing as he approaches. For those motorists who pull over early, give a full lane, and the few that even signal, I like to give them a friendly wave as they go by. I think it's important to let them know that I see what they are doing and appreciate it when they show me some respect as a fellow road user and vulnerable human.....not just an anonymous jerk on a bicycle.
     
  16. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    The truth is on my longer rides out of the city, I'm usually aware of cars/trucks as they approach (audibly) from behind but not what they are doing (visually). The vehicle sound may allude to the type of vehicle and what if any vortex could be created by the size of the vehicle to upset the line of a bike. The bit about them preparing for them to run me in is for the most part used when they are approaching traffic and either indicating a turn across my path (to their left), or there is a chance they will turn left by virtue of a roadway or street approaching on my right (that they could make a left turn onto, without having signaled). If they are passing from the rear I'll make a note to be doubly cautious as they pass if there is a turn on my right that offers a possibility of them cutting me off. The head on a swivel part is more commonly used for mitigating that potential cutoff factor, but most commonly used during a race to see if anyone is bridging across the gap during a break ;)
     
  17. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    To a degree you need to ignore much of what's happening behind you because it's a distraction from what's going on ahead. You can take it on faith that most drivers aren't homicidal maniacs; they are good people who will take precautions to avoid a collision. After all, it damages their cars, makes them late, and might even make them feel guilty. That they aren't distracted is more arguable, but on a bicycle there just isn't enough time to make that kind of discernment. Like, if I'm driving my car I can see that the driver behind me is tailgating, drinking coffee, applying makeup, and playing with a smartphone because my mirror lets me see directly into her windshield and she's been behind me for the last five miles. My best defense is to leave plenty of room in front of me, drive predictably, and find a chance to change lanes.

    Usually, cars don't follow bicyclists for more than a few seconds. The best defense from cars behind you is to be aware and predictable.
     
  18. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    LOL, isn't that the truth. It's not a question of hearing, it's a question of whether it's a two person vehicle or a semi headed your way....
     
  19. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The exact same thing can happen with a mirror, unless you plan on constantly staring at the mirror in which case you'll start becoming a danger on the road and to yourself.
     
  20. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    +10.
     
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