Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Bike...

Over the past week I've received several emails with questions about bicycle mirrors, so it seemed like a good topic for a post. As with most safety-related issues, opinions on bicycle mirrors are divided. I don't want to reiterate what's already been discussed to death elsewhere, but here is a very brief summary:

The pro bicycle mirror rhetoric is that they allow you to monitor the traffic behind you without having to turn around. The anti bicycle mirror rhetoric is that they are distracting, and that using them can lead to misperceptions of traffic proximity. Furthermore, those who do use mirrors are divided on whether they ought to be handlebar-mounted or head-mounted. Here is a post from Alan on ecovelo that explains why he uses bicycle mirrors. And here is a thread on bikeforums where members explain why they believe bicycle mirrors are dangerous, as other members argue with them.

If you look at pictures of my bicycles, it is obvious that I don't use mirrors. But I am not rabidly anti-mirror either. I just find that they are not for me. They do distract me. And they do interfere with my sense of connectedness to my environment - a connectedness that is the very reason I find cycling in traffic easier than driving a car in traffic. For what it's worth, this is also why I cannot relate to arguments that compare bicycle mirrors to car mirrors. In a car I am closed off from the road and my view is blocked in almost all directions. Also, turning around is tricky, because of the way the interior of the car is structured. On a bicycle, my view of the road is unobstructed and turning to look over my shoulder is much easier. This is why I find mirrors in a car necessary, while I find mirrors on a bike not only unnecessary, but counterproductive. Your experience may differ.

If you are trying to decide whether a bicycle mirror is a good idea, why not buy an inexpensive one and give it a try on a quiet road? That way you will be able to determine how you respond to it and whether you find it beneficial or detrimental. I can't recommend any particular mirror, since I don't use them. I've heard good things about the Zephal Spy Mirror and the German mirror sold by Rivendell, but that's all I know. If you have opinions or recommendations to contribute, that would be most welcome.

56 comments:

  1. I tried out a cheap mirror and had problems with it. I couldn't get the angle right and it trembled so I couldn't see anything anyway. When I got it to stop trembling a little, it was angled so that it only reflected my arm, which was useless again.

    But this was an extremely cheap mirror, so that may be the reasons for these problems.

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  2. I have the German Mirror on my Betty Foy. And no mirror on my Pashley. So I experience both types of mirror situations on a regular basis. It is weird because I don't miss a mirror on my Pashley, but I appreciate it on my Betty Foy. Maybe because I sit up straighter on a Pashley so I feel like I have a better lay of the land and wider peripheral vision. On my Betty, the mirror has been a real help to me. At least telling me it is clear enough to the turn and check my blind spot before merging. So it is hard to say what I prefer since I seem to work well with both on different bikes.

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  3. Coffee (the concerned cat)May 24, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    I had a handlebar mirror as a kitten. I think it was more of a toy because we cycled in parks and not on the roads anyway, and it shook quite a bit. As an adult cat, I briefly used a helmet mounted mirror and found it more useful. It shook considerably less. But it was fussy and needed frequent adjustment. Eventually I got tired of the whole thing.

    This may be a common theme. Start out with mirror, then get rid once more comfortable cycling in traffic.

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  4. i don't bother with them in town, where i'm traveling about as fast as cars on broad streets, often with bike facilities. but on the open road or highways, where motor vehicles are much faster and the lane may be narrow, i like a mirror on my glasses to give me earliest warning of overtaking traffic; sometimes wind noise means inadequate audible warning.

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  5. I'm blind in one eye, and although I do find most mirrors incredibly fiddly, I wouldn't ride without one. I've been through quite a few trying to find one that stays put and gives a decent viewing angle, and at the moment, I'm using the Mirrycle, which is really surprisingly good. I don't like the fact that it makes my already-wide handlebars even wider when I'm riding in town, but it does make me feel a lot more confident trying to check my blind side.

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  6. I don't feel the need for a mirror while bicycling. Recently, I took a motorcycle riding class, and I think I would use mirrors more readily in this setting-- Primarily due to the faster speed of travel, and due to my newbie inability to look behind me with a full face helmet on without veering in the direction of my head turn... of course, it is never advisable to change lanes in any vehicle without looking behind, but on the bicycle, I find this very easy and natural.

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  7. I don't have much use for a mirror in town (I look over my shoulder whenever I move into a lane or whatever) but on tour it would be nice, since I often ride on rural highways. I can hear a vehicle approaching, but a mirror would help me see how big and how closely they plan to pass me. Which is why I'm going to buy one soon, that attaches to my helmet but can be popped off when not needed (there's a permanent mount on the helmet).

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  8. I've found a mirror useful on bike paths as you can't hear cyclists approaching from behind and on a narrow wide path you can't look back as easily as you can on the road.

    Tony

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  9. I don't use a mirror but my Mum, who's in her seventies, does find one useful. I would guess that most of the anti-mirror people have yet to discover for themselves (or are in denial) how necks, shoulders and backs change over the years and that their days of swivelling their heads like an owl might one day be over... As a glasses wearer, my peripheral vision is blurry and I increasingly find it a strain to really get my head around enough to see what's behind me, and more importantly what it's doing and how fast it's going. Mostly I can hear well enough, especially on country roads but in cities I might need to give in to the mirror after all. Or get a more upright bike for city riding. Yet another reason why I need another bike!

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  10. I have used a mirrycle and currently a zefal cyclop bar end mirror on our Raleigh tandem, the mirrycle was well made with a very clear circular image but succumbed to a knock. The Zefal seems flimsy but also gives way without damage when knocked, though the surface seems to be coated plastic, and scratches very easily- it has a 'cat-eye' pointy oval shape and is very unobtrusive and useful.
    These mirrors are best suited to straight bars though- for my Toer Gazelle I have no mirror, this is sometimes a bother as the light steering is very sensitive to a look over the shoulder. I would have to get a tall stemmed bar mounted mirror I think - haven't found one I like the look of ( probably won't ).

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  11. The bicycle, unlike cars/trucks/road vehicles, has no blind spot, so there is no need for a mirror. It takes minimal effort to glance over your shoulder and I would rather trust my eyes than a mirror.

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  12. I find mirrors too fiddly and distracting to use. It's also hard to position one far forward enough on my bike so I don't have to look far down to my left to see it. The longer the mirror arm, the more it vibrates and the harder it is to see.

    There's a lot more obstacles and hazards to look for in front of you while you're riding a bike, and it's rare I have free moments to look at a mirror to keep tabs on cars passing me by in a busy urban environment. I find it more useful ironically, to see if other cyclists are behind me and want to pass.

    Perhaps on a long tour I'd appreciate it, but it's just not that beneficial for me in my current riding situations.

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  13. I have the German Mirror on one bike and I just mounted a "Mountain Mirror" on my Dahon. I use the mirror for my commute when I the road narrows and I have to merge from the curb lane (sharing large lane with traffic) to a narrow lane (when I ride in the middle of the lane). It's also useful for keeping an eye on a friend or family member who's riding with you.
    I had the mount the German Mirror under my handlebars (North Roads Type) because when it was on top I got a great view of my forearm.

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  14. Meh. I've considered getting one, but if I mounted it on my handlebars it would be hellova lot harder to fix flats. I rarely wear a helmet, and I only sometimes wear glasses, so I don't really have any acceptable mounting options. In all my years of riding, I cannot remember a single instance where I would have been better off or more aware with a mirror. I think I'm doing just fine without one.

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  15. I have this cheap mirror on both of my commuters. I've been quite happy with it. Around here I feel the need for a mirror b/c the roads surfaces are so bad that I tend to ride more in the middle of the lane and need to keep an eye out for cars coming up behind me so that I can get over for them. Being in a semi rural area with low traffic I can get away with this.

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  16. I will ride without a mirror, but I much prefer to have one, because it allows me a rear view without having to turn my head and lose sight of what's in front of me. I use a Mirrycle, which I have mounted in the end of my Albatross bars. It does make the handlebars a little wider, but that's a price I'm happy to pay for an increased comfort level and (IMHO) increased safety. I think the Mirrycle is a very good mirror at a reasonable price: highly adjustable and quite stable once all the bolts are tightened. My only objection is aesthetic. It's pretty much the only black thing on my bike, and it looks out of place to me. I'd rather have something in silver alloy or chrome. But it obviously doesn't bother me very much, since I've made no attempt to find a replacement.

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  17. I got the German mirror after a local cyclist (Donald Parker) was killed commuting to work (a teen driver on his way to school was wearing flipflops that got caught in the accelerator pedal -- he bent down to untangle them.) It is mounted on the bottom of my drop handlebars, and do not find it distracting at all, since it is not in my field of vision unless I want it to be. It can lead to a misperception of traffic distance (objects are closer than they appear) but I have learned to verify with a quick glance before I pull to the left. I find it useful to see what traffic is creeping up on me on a busy road (when the road is quiet my ears work fine for this). But it doesn't work quite as well as I would like as an accident avoider (e.g., teen driver) since its not in my field of view all the time.

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  18. I have used a mirror for years, it is an old style which is no longer made, very secure, no wobble, easily adjusted and moved from bike to bike. I am so used to riding with it that I cannot imagine riding without and it has saved me numerous times. I also have limited neck mobility and cannot swivel my head like an owl, so looking behind me constantly is ridiculous, there is way too much traffic where I live and it moves too fast. I need to be looking ahead of me and using the mirror for what is behind. I cannot imagine trying to make turns in traffic without it either, it all has to be done at speed, so it's what works for me. I don't care what others do, but I have seen some stupid moves by cyclists that they may not have attempted, could they have seen what was really coming up behind them. Of course it comes down to how dorktastic you are willing to look!

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  19. Coffee is right. When I started cycling in traffic, I had a brifter mounted mirror. It worked well. Then it broke and I never replaced it. I'm more comfortable glancing over my shoulder now.
    Mona

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  20. I prefer to ride with a mirror. Like anonymous @9:12, the one on my road bike is one that's no longer made. It mounts to the brake hoods and can be easily removed and re-installed. I'm another person too with some neck issues and eye issues. My glasses don't cover my field of view when I turn my head back.

    The mirrors on all my bikes are mounted so I just have to flick my eyes to the side to see what's coming behind me. I don't find it distracting at all. It's a very valuable source of information to me. If I ever get on a bike without a mirror, I feel horribly vulnerable, since I can't tell what's coming behind me.

    I also wobble if I try tolook over my shoulder, so I'm definitely safer looking in a mirror.

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  21. when I first started I had a mirror. I felt I couldn't do anything without it and with it I did feel more car like and was able to inititate VC type riding more.

    However my mirror which was handlebar grip mounted kept breaking. ( I now have two holes in both gripes from broken mirrors- first one was mounted on the wrong side!!!) I now have a velcro one which is often never used. ( doesn't work with the fold on the folding bike at all)

    I do want a mirror- but have yet to buy one I really like. I find that my head check behind my left shoulder makes me wobbly and I don't like doing it. A mirror allows me to see without making the bike shift. Yes- this perhaps means I have poor biking technique etc but whatever. I do not need or want a mirror on my trike as I am more stable to head check. I also do not attempt a lot of VC riding on the trike and pretty much Never make a left turn in the road ( except for quiet side streets- nut never at a light).

    So even though I have grown comfortable without the mirror for me to do real VC riding, I would be happier with on. I want the kind that goes on the handle bar.

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  22. I have never really used mirrors and I am generally dead set against anything on the bike that is not needed or attracts the attention of vandals.

    That said, Our municipality has helmet laws and as much as I dislike them I am starting to wear my helmet more so I don't get hassled by "the man" The helmet does slightly reduce my awareness of what's coming up behind me and it seems I really have to turn my head more to see well what's coming.

    My old road racing buddies used to joke about new riders who would swerve into the road whenever they looked to see if there were cars coming, this is a natural thing that happens, because as you turn your head the shoulder also rotate and when the shoulders rotate . . . well, I guess the handlebars tend to turn as well! ;-)

    Anywhose, now in my old age I notice that despite concious efforts NOT to do this, I still do it! A mirror would definately help in this reqard, but I think there are still various factors to consider.

    Type of bike
    type riding or place where you tend to ride
    speed of traffic or busyness of common routes
    age or flexibility level
    eyesite
    posture

    I probably would not want to use one on my mountain bike even if I used it primarily on the street, but last night I was pulling my trailer to the grocery store for the first time and I could have used a mirror!! Ironically I find that the upright position natually make rearward vision very easy and a fairly low flat back position is not too bad either, as you can more easily look over your shoulder, but the position I am using more in my advancing age is somewhere in between, which makes it difficult to turn my head in order to see well because my shoulder tends to be at the same level as my chin which makes turning my head allot difficult!???

    masmojo

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  23. Velouria,

    Perhaps you can dedicate a post to optimal methods of bike storage for people who live in smaller spaces? I have two bikes and they take up half my bedroom in my apartment! However, they are currently just leaning against the wall but I have high ceilings, and was tring to think of a way to efficiently utilise the space? (also as an excuse not to get rid of one bike that I am sentimentally attached to. ;) ) Any good suggestions for people who want to have bikes in a smaller space but also don't want to scare away friends and family from visiting by having a "collection"?

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  24. Bike Peddler Take a Look Cycling Eyeglass Mirror. You can mount it on prescription glasses, sunglasses, or a helmet. It is inexpensive, durable (been using mine for almost 2 years, still in perfect condition), easily adjustable, does not require mounting on a handlebar, secure, and in my opinion provides a clear and wide image without intruding. Of course, others may find a glasses or helmet mounted mirror more intrusive than I do, or not always be riding with something on their head.

    I prefer riding with a mirror. Even in city traffic, I get a lot of wind noise at times, and like to be able to quickly check for potential passers without having to take my eyes off the road. Anything that keeps my eyes forward to scan for potholes and the myriad other urban obstacles is helpful, in my mind.

    I know logically that getting hit from behind is the least likely accident, but some motorists here are actively antagonistic, and I just feel better having an easy reference to what's behind me, especially if it's actively trying to run me off the road. Plus if I'm supposed to be worrying more about traffic crossing my path, I figure I'm better off keeping my eyes in front scanning for obstacles as much as possible. The mirror for me is just one more useful tool, with no drawbacks, and I have not found that it either distracts me or becomes a crutch that prevents me from glancing back when I need to, even with long use.

    Garth-

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  25. @masmojo

    If one was glancing over one's left shoulder, presumably one would be turning the handlebars to the left, and so would tend to veer to the right (countersteer), towards the curb.

    I find it harder to get a mirror well positioned while riding a road bike, especially with the varied body positions. An upright mountain bike position may make you feel less of a need for a mirror, but for me makes mirror positioning and use much easier.

    Garth-

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  26. I just bought the Evo Revolution mirror http://www.calhouncycle.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=7
    Will report back on it's utility...

    I will say the cheapy one I bought off of eBay was absolutely useless - no adjustability and on the off chance I'm able to position it so I can see something besides my arm, it moves when I hit a bump.

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  27. Thanks everyone for your feedback.

    The vibration problem in cheap mirrors is not something I'd considered, so good to know.

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  28. Anon - I now keep my main transportation bike outdoors, precisely for that reason. It's a big old Dutch bike, so it can take it. Our road bikes we have hanging up on hooks, which saves a lot of space. And other bikes are shoved into corners and propped against bookcases. Being unable to find adequate storage spaces, we've kind of tried to blend the bikes in with the apt decor... But then we have an eccentric living space to begin with, so this might not work for everyone.

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  29. I use a mirror due to my age. At 65 I can no longer turn to check traffic at my rear nor can I hear said traffic well enough to gage it's exact proximity to me.

    Since I ride upright I use a larger mirror commonly found on motor scooters for a better rear view.

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  30. The Efficient Velo Tools safe zone mirror is the best I've used. It's helmet mounted, easy to adjust, stays put without vibration, and pops off its mount easily.

    http://efficientvelo.com/www.biketoolmaker.com/Bicycle_Helmet_Mirrror.html

    It really is a fantastic design. A not-oft-mentioned use for mirrors is to keep an eye out for other commuter-racers, and as they approach you can slowly speed up. This way it's not like you looked over your shoulder and noticed them and are racing, rather you just happen to be riding that fast anyways.

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  31. V,

    Thanks! Do you use a special hook to hang the road bikes up? Are they wall-mounted hooks? I am thinking about doing that with my "lighter" roadbike but because the ceilings are 10' high, I wouldn't be able to get them down from a ceiling hook easily.

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  32. It may be vain but I manly use my mirror for checking my hair when I take my helmet off? It is pretty useful if only for that!

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  33. Jon Webb - That's a horrible story : ((

    Anon 1:22 - Yes, we use large hooks from the hardware store that look like this (random link I found). Any hardware store should have them. You have to inspect the wall to make sure there is a wooden beam under the plaster, and you screw the hook into that part.

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  34. I use Zefal Spy Mirror on my big bike and a foldable mirror on my foldable bike (eh, eh). I also cycled without mirrors. I find them helpful. Liking or disliking mirrors aside, I don't understand how a mirror could be distracting. Having as a reference only my experience, I look most of the time where I'm going and glance at the mirror only when I need to. When I'm not looking at the mirror, I don't even know it's there. Perhaps because my mirrors are attached to the sides of the handlebars, rather than being raised by a metal/plastic post into my field of vision when looking straight ahead (like on motorcycles)?

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  35. Nice pic!
    I have a mirror on my road bike, a present from my wife. It fits in the left bar end, doesn't get in the way and is useful riding in traffic. It wiggles occasinally, but after a quick turn of a screwdriver, everything is AOK.

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  36. I'm not using one currently, but have in the past when the combination of riding position and backpack-mounted commuter load made doing a twist-n-look feel too squirrely.

    The one Rivendell looks pretty nice, and based on the bikes I've worked on, the Mirrycle seems to be one of the better choices that you'll find in most shops. Easy to adjust, relatively sturdy and a good enough field of view for most of the commuter and rec riders. Also, they're usually under $15, so if you don't like 'em, you're not out the cost of a carbon-fiber bottle cage.

    As with other pieces of safety equipment, mirrors are nothing to get worked up about or get into heated discussions over. If you find them helpful, use 'em, if you don't find them helpful, don't. If a mirror works well on one of your bikes but not the other... you see where I'm going with this. Not a big deal.

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  37. I have never had a bike with a mirror though to be honest these days I am toying with the idea more and more. I kinda dig the style I saw from Adventure cycling that goes right into the end of the drop bars. I hesitate on getting one cause like others have said I worry bout it being a distraction, I have over the years become very good at turning my head while remaining straight. It is more an interesting idea for me for night riding.

    Oh an Velouria very cool shot :)
    Cheers Jim

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  38. I for one really appreciate this post because I've been debating on whether I really need to put mirrors on my roadster upright bicycles. I'm comfortable looking behind me when I'm upright and don't find that I really need mirrors. I tried a mirror on my road bike, mounted on the end of my drop handlebar, but found it to be completely useless and ended up removing it. I am intrigued by those cycling eyeglass mirrors that Velocipedian mentioned about and I have heard that for road biking this type of mirror vs mount mirrors is really ideal. Great reading everyone's opinion on this because it's been on my mind. I especially appreciate those who commented about using mirrors due to lack of neck and shoulder mobility, which is important, and a perfectly good reason to use a mirror.

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  39. Anon 5:56 - Give yourself another 20 years when your neck begins to stiffen and then tell me about the 'minimal effort' of a shoulder check :-)

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  40. I had a mirror, but it fell off and a car ran over it. I got another, but have never rigged it up.

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  41. Off subject, but Lovely.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Bicycle-frame-recycled-as-plant-hanger/

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  42. I bought a couple of the "German Mirrors" recently. This was my first mirror purchase. I was very pleased with the quality. However, I think they were probably made for drop bars. All my bikes have North Road type bars and it doesn't work well on them. I mostly get to see my arm as the mirror arm is not quite long enough to get past my arm. I ended up taking them off and now use a bar end type that shows the traffic much better.

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  43. I only have a cheap one fitted on my kid's bike. It was a distraction to him because he couldn't stop adjusting it when it trembled.

    For me, I don't need a mirror. Shoulder check is fine and more convenient.

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  44. I always thought mirrors to be a hazard for some reason but now as I get older and more and more of my old fart friends are using them I'm starting to understand why people like them. I'm beginning to experience some significant hearing loss and I've had a couple of nasty surprises that I'm told a mirror can help prevent.

    My vision isn't what it was either so maybe I'll need something to hear better to compensate for that...

    Spindizzy

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  45. I use a helmet mirror, don't need it but it does help some, when I'm riding with friends I can keep track of the ones in back of me without worrying about hitting the ones in front of me. It also gives me a general idea of the road traffic - however, I will turn my head before making any lane changes or turns.

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  46. "The bicycle, unlike cars/trucks/road vehicles, has no blind spot,"

    Everything that you can only see by moving your head is in the blindspot for a bicycle (or vehicle of any kind). The blindspots for a motor vehicle contain the places which none of the mirrors cover. Convertibles still have blindspots.

    You turn your head while driving a car to check the blindspot, which is the area you cannot see by looking in the mirrors. Same on a bicycle. You turn your head to cover the area which you cannot see by looking in the mirrors. If your bicycle has no mirror, the blindspot is substantial, roughly everything behind you.

    http://www.motorcyclebasics.com/blind-spots.html
    See diagram 2.1. The blindspots are outside of the area covered by the left and right mirrors. The uncheckered area behind the car is the mirror coverage area, with no exlusions due to the pillars because outside mirrors are not blocked by the pillars.

    That all said, I have never ridden with a mirror on a bicycle and don't have one on the smugfiets, but would add and try one if I could find a decent looking one, and would probably love one for the recumbentfiets, because turning my head to look around on the recumbent is much harder than on a safety bicycle.

    Dan.

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  47. I bought the Bike Eye mirror from Harris (http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/mirrors.html) and have it my commuter to try out. I was not a mirror user before, and I probably only use it 50% of the time. It works pretty well, if you can live with the limitations -no pannier on the side with the mirror, and having to move your leg out of the way. One advantage is that it's in a reasonably well protected place on the bike, so it doesn't get wrecked in a crowded bike rack or other abusive environment. One possible advantage is that you CAN'T look at it too long (only half of each pedal stroke) so you tend to keep your eyes on the road. The best use I've found is that it reflects car headlights (or daytime running lights) when you are in well lit urban areas and the light beam doesn't show up on the road very well. Just the bright spot in the mirror, seen out of the corner of your eye, tells you something is there.

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  48. I've been using a glasses mounted mirror now for over a year. It's small and close, and your brain eventually incorperates the forward blind spot on the left. I think the ability to see behind is a huge plus. I would never ride without one now.

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  49. I kept getting booted out of blogspot last night so here goes again.
    When I was younger I thought mirrors were for wimps but age makes you wiser and maybe more scared. Well, from experience I know what broken bones feel like, how long it can take to recover from major injuries, how long one can wait for insurance settlements, I know what it's like to have to do years of physio-so not keen to get hurt like that again. I have a mirror on one bike and I am always happy to ride that bike. I ought to get mirrors for all my bikes! I mostly have to ride on a busy twisty narrow highway with terrible shoulders so have plenty to be nervous about. While shoulder checking is always a good idea, sometimes a nasty truck will appear after I looked. My messed up back and semi seized up neck make shoulder checking very uncomfortable. Plus the road is sketchy so don't want to turn away too much.
    I thought the mirror would be distracting and at first I worried I was looking at it too much. But it quickly became intuitive. You can look ahead and all around PLUS look into the mirror regularly. I can be prepared for scary logging trucks, semis, scary dump trucks, bad looking drivers, RVs etc.. It is sometimes best to pull over and ride on the dirt if possible.
    I use a cateye mirror which is super cheap and easy. They are meant for drop bars, but fit fine on upright bars. No problems with visibility or interfering with anything. with I'd love to find something chrome.

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  50. It is interesting to read the comments about starting to use mirrors at an older age. It's entirely possible that I will consider them useful at some future stage also.

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  51. 50 posts and no mention of the Chuck Harris
    mirror.
    http://www.palmbeachbiketours.com/looking-back-at-my-chuck-harris-rearview-mirror/

    Closest thing to eyes in back of your head
    ever invented.

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  52. I've used a 'Bike Peddler Take A Look Mirror' on my glasses while commuting/touring for the past three years. I don't go on any long rides without it. 21 reviews on REI.com give it 5 stars!

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  53. I've found the mirrors mounted on my glasses difficult to use. If the mirror is close enough to see it doesn't show much. If it's aimed at a useful angle, the image is too small for me to see much.

    However, just because I find it sufficient and easy to turn my head, I see no reason other people shouldn't use mirrors if they find them useful (but not required).

    I imagine larger mirrors could be quite useful on recumbents.

    Angelo

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  54. A fellow rider who's relatively new to the game chided me for not wearing a mirror and said that I was full of built-in excuses for not riding witht the safety of a mirror. Like several others posting here, I found the mirror to give a level of comfort to me as a frightened new rider but now feel that the use fo a miiror would compromise the safety I now enjoy with better handling skills -- keeping one's line while turning the head -- better judgement of closing distances, better listening to the traffic and understanding of the flow, and all-around awareness of what it takes to successfully ride a bkie. That said, if the neck ever goes and I want to use a mirror, the handlebar mount gives the option of viewing in the mirror or not while the helmet mount needlessly puts too much information into the field of view making it a full-time distraction while riding.

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  55. Obviously "anonymous" doesn't ride down mountains or long distances. I've seen way too many riders without a mirror, enter the land of carnage. Simply turning their head to look behind can cause a rider to miss then hit a pot hole. One such event of carnage occurred at the Tour de Madison in '07. The rider looked back only for a glance. Spectators said he somersaulted, not once, but three times in the air, attached to his bicycle with cleats before he hit the asphalt. His bicycle now a pretzel but he was still attached and the bicycle was facing up in the air.

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  56. It seems that no previous comments address the issue of ice rutted roads. In town commuting during Minnesota winters you have to keep your eyes on the ice ruts in front of you at all times. If you look over your shoulder at the wrong moment you will crash! It's helpful to have a mirror even if it's vibrating terribly since it is better than no rear view.

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