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Bike mirror use and non use

12467 Views 92 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  mmlee
Whether I'm cycling on a highway shoulder, in urban traffic, or on a group training ride, I find a cycling mirror to be indepensable. When I'm on a group ride I'm surprised by the few riders that use them.

Before totally bashing the idea of wearing one, see if you can try one first. you may have to borrow a friends.

Ok now, let's hear your pros and cons. I'm curious and eager to respond.
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You will get the standard barrage of false logic, claiming that a mirror cab be replaced with "turning your head". This hopelessly fake logic ignores the simple fact that turning your head is a conscious action, which you have to initiate yourself. This alone already negates most of its usefulness: unfortunately problems often catch up with us at those moments when we simply didn't know that we needed to "turn our heads". If the cyclists had this sort of divine foresight, the number of car vs. bicycle accidents would've been at least a million times smaller.

The point of the mirror, on the other hand, is to be present in your peripheral field of view at all times. A mirror, even a small one, very reliably warns a bicyclist about a car approaching from behind in situations when the car is easily discernible on the background. It works especially well for cars with daytime running lights. This sort of detection requires no conscious action on the cyclist's part, which is the whole point of a mirror as a warning device.

Insisting that it can be somehow replaced with "turning your head" is an obvious and rather laughable demagogy. The only way to achieve the same level of backward awareness by "turning your head" is to look backwards at all times. Needless to say, this is not the healthiest way to ride.

The only thing that can replace a mirror on a bike ridden on public roads is that proverbial magic "crystal ball", which can tell when you need to "turn your head". Unfortunately, the don't seem to make these in any noticeable numbers.

Well said :thumbsup: .
This x eleventy billion. I get so tired of the excuses for not wearing a mirror. Thanks for writing that. This comment is perfect "we simply didn't know that we needed to "turn our heads".

I've ridden with and behind lots of riders who turned their heads often and they turn their heads about 10% of the times I take a quick peek in my mirror. I see things happening way before the things catch them by surprise. It's laughable really. The "I use my ears" people really are funny. I can see cars & trucks approaching minutes before I hear them.

I just wish all the mirror poo-pooers could ride one ride with one of my home-made mirrors. I've ridden with one for decades (4?). Here's my latest one that I made last week for my new glasses. It's 3.5" long total, the glass is not quite 1.5cm square and it sits about 3mm from my sunglasses lens. It's so perfectly made for the glasses that it will go on that it will never need adjusting after I dial it in by bending the arm (two sets of needle nose pliers needed on a shake-down ride up & down the street).

No I won't (can't) make one for anyone reading this (I always get requests when I show one) as they are totally tailor fitted for each set of glasses and my position on the bike. This is the third frame I made until I got it dead right. I can see as much out of this as through my car rearview mirror. The pic of the mirror here is exactly the size of the real one.
I had most of my neck fused last Sept. ('11) C3 to C7.

The fusion pretty much put an end to the 'no mirror' rides because turning my head side to side is somewhat limited now. Up until the surgery, I have been delaying using a mirror due to the 'Fred' factor despite being a safety 'Nazi'.

Well, those days of mirror-less rides are over because of my post-op condition and points that you've brought up and this thread in general. I've tried several mirrors in the past and they've all sucked due to quality issues. I've found a high quality mirror that has a 2.25" round mirror (Huge!). It screams Fred but so what. It's made by EVT (Efficient Velo Tools). There's a pic of an RBR member in another thread with one mounted on his helmet with him wearing it; it's huge arm and huge mirror. But once again, so what.

Because of this thread I'm picking up one today. Will poast pics when I mount it.

Here's a pic of it:
I use a mirror on long rides where eventually looking back will hurt, or when I'm riding with my wife and I don't want to accidentally drop her. Otherwise no. I find them distracting.
Good point.

That's yet another reason why I'm buying a mirror. My son is now riding with me and I look back all the time to check on him and to see if I'm riding too fast. My neck starts to hurt half way through a 40 mile ride.
I don't use a mirror, and I don't doubt how useful they are... but around here they are very popular. What I don't like is that the type of cyclists that I've seen use them, all have very bad group etiquette, and are all over the road..I don't know if it's because the think they can see whats behind them??
So I do not want to be like them and will not wear one...and I'm also nervous about wearing a long metal spear beside my eyeballs when I'm riding downhill at over 60km;s per hour and then crashing .

I should mention that all the people that I know who have them buy them from some dude who reuses old spokes to make them.

"You're so vain, you probably think this poast is about you.

You're so vain, I'll bet you think this poast is about you.

Don't you? Don't You?" :p :lol:


When I read your poast, that movie is the first thing I thought of :thumbsup: !
replace 'possible' with 'practical' and you might be on to something...
Excellent point.

1) If there's a bike lane; I ride in it.

2) If there is no bike lane but space for a parked car; I ride where a parked car's centerline would be.

3) If there are parked cars; I take the whole lane via ride where the passenger-side tires would be on a car driving in the lane.

4) If there is no bike lane and no space for a parked car; I ride as described above: Take the whole lane via ride where the passenger side tires would be on a car driving on the lane.

These are neighborhood roads and downtown streets where poasted speeds are at, or less than 35MPH. I stay away from major streets and boulevards where speeds are over 35MPH. It's just not worth riding on those. My only exception to said roads is if I'm riding said roads between 0200HRS and 0600HRS. No one is on said roads during those hours.

The 30 mile loop to work that I take, I start at 0400HRS and ride country roads where poasted speed is 50MPH. The only vehicle I see is a County Sheriff patrol car.
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I ride in an area with trailer trucks and roads having dual lanes on each side. Posted speeds in some areas are over 50 mph with really terrible debris and high storm drains and gutters. It's as if they paved one pass of tarmac and forgot to repave at the height of the storm drains themselves. [Storms stick up 3-5 inches above road line] Very dangerous sections of roadway. I use the dot mirror on the inside of the eye wear too. Excellent. Amazingly transparent and seamless while riding. I dare not to turn a head around because of the bad road shoulders in front of me. In these cases this type of mirror warns me of up coming trailer truck traffic. We've has cyclist killed on these roads many times over the years.

I wouldn't use an ear piece clip-on mirror for fear of crashing and then impaling an eyeball with the brace-rod. That my feeling.

on a side note.

Beer Bottle cap mirror looks cool. But it could slow a person down from increase wind resistance j/k. If you turned the Beer Bottle Cap around and stared at the Beer Cap itself, it could motivate me to go faster due to the euphoric nature and Pavlov effect for brew and getting home quicker. LOL

That bottle cap mirror is so full of win :lol: :thumbsup: !!
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