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mirrors

oblongomaculatusoblongomaculatus Posts: 615
edited November 2014 in Road general
Anyone else have a mirror on their road bike? I've used one for years, but I hardly ever see others with them. I realise they might not be the coolest accessory you can buy, ranking somewhere alongside the wicker basket or the child seat (I actually saw a rather nice Specialized road bike with one of these on the back a while ago) but the way a mirror enhances your awareness of what's around you more than makes up for that. They're most useful on quiet country roads, where you will generally hear a car approach from behind, but not the two or three immediately behind the first one, because the noise of the engines seem to blend together and mask each other. Also good for lane changes in busy town centres.

Posts

  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    A shoulder check lets you know what is behind you and lets the driver know that you know they are behind you and see you as another person rather than objectifying you so they will give you more space when they do pass rather than trying to sneak up and pass with inches to spare.

    In town a shoulder check will let the driver see that you may be planning a move, a glance at the mirror tells the driver nothing.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • mirrors or no mirrors, you still need to look over your shoulder. You will have an accident and it will be your fault if you don't look....
  • Mmm, I wasn't suggesting that a mirror is a substitute for looking over your shoulder, more a supplement to a look. Though in town, while letting a driver know you know he's there with a quick glance before you signal then move across stops a motorist thinking you've cut across without looking, I don't find it makes any difference to the amount of room they give you when passing, especially on country roads when there's something coming the other way, where the norm seems to be to zip past at 60mph with little to spare on either side. In such a situation mirror at least gives you advance warning this is about to happen, and take evasive action if necessary.
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,193
    I've fitted one of the small Bike-Eye mirrors to my road/commuter MTB and find it useful for seeing what's coming up behind, however it is no substitute for the shoulder check and I would not rely it solely. Could not fit it to the road bike as the frame tubes are the wrong size/shape.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    I don't find it makes any difference to the amount of room they give you when passing, especially on country roads when there's something coming the other way, where the norm seems to be to zip past at 60mph with little to spare on either side.

    In that case you are probably riding too close to the gutter, allowing the driver to think there is enough room instead of telling them that there isn't.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Anyone else have a mirror on their road bike? I've used one for years, but I hardly ever see others with them. I realise they might not be the coolest accessory you can buy, ranking somewhere alongside the wicker basket or the child seat....

    ... But a child seat is dead cool!

    Ruth
  • I don't find it makes any difference to the amount of room they give you when passing, especially on country roads when there's something coming the other way, where the norm seems to be to zip past at 60mph with little to spare on either side.

    In that case you are probably riding too close to the gutter, allowing the driver to think there is enough room instead of telling them that there isn't.

    No, I don't think so. I ride well away from the gutter, not just for this reason but because country roads are often most potholed and broken at the edges. This does generally cause motorists to slow up and wait, but far too many try to squeeze through anyway. I often wonder what the oncoming driver thinks in these situations. My point about a mirror is that you can see this is going to happen where you might not hear the car (because of the wind for example) and are not startled into a wobble; you can also either move more to the right in good time so there is less room, compelling the driver to slow up and wait those few seconds they apparently can't bear to lose, or if it becomes clear they're not going to slow down, pull to the left if this is the only alternative to being hit. In those circumstances, the glance over the shoulder has no effect.
  • LeighMLeighM Posts: 156
    Rule #66 is quite clear on the matter.

    Fighter pilots use the phrase "turn your head or you're dead", this is just as relevant to cycling.
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  • RobinB2RobinB2 Posts: 111
    I use a small Zefal one on my commuter bike and would feel lost without it. Doesn't replace a glance behind when changing lane etc but very useful for knowing roughly whats behind you
  • matt Bottrill, TT national champion does a lot of his training with a child and child seat.
  • I thought you meant like the lime green thing I saw bolted over the rear wheel of that road bike, but having done a quick search, I found a picture of him towing a child buggy, which I can see the sense of for training purposes, like those people who train for skiing to the poles by running on the beach pulling a car tyre along behind them.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    I use an end of handlebar type. Can't really turn my head far enough to get a good look behind me due to having a couple of neck vertebrae fused some years back.
    On a side note to this, I switched from alloy bars to carbon and found that mirror vibration decreased dramatically.
    With the alloy bars the vibration made the mirror almost useless.
  • Not safe in a group where you HAVE to be focussing on what's ahead of you, not behind. There's a large number of motorcyclists who don't use them either. In fact the only reason I can see for them is if you're on a motorcycle and have limited hearing and can't tell when there's a nutty speeding car coming up your japsie.
  • Also good for putting your lipstick on.
  • Not safe in a group where you HAVE to be focussing on what's ahead of you, not behind.
    Except when you're looking over your shoulder...

    There's not a lot of logic being applied to this question. Besides fashion, tradition, and RULES, why is it a bad idea?
  • Not safe in a group where you HAVE to be focussing on what's ahead of you, not behind.
    Except when you're looking over your shoulder...

    There's not a lot of logic being applied to this question. Besides fashion, tradition, and RULES, why is it a bad idea?

    You shouldn't look over your shoulder in a group either. It's for the person at the back of the group to let everyone else know if there's traffic behind.

    There's not reason it's bad idea for everyday solo riding, but it's just a bit pointless. You originally assume you can improve safety by using a mirror but that isn't necessarily the case.
  • What is the person at the back supposed to do? IME pretty much everyone takes a turn at the back at some point, if not every few minutes in a chain gang.

    I'm not advocating mirrors at all, but the theory posited in this thread that you shouldn't have them because as a consequence you won't look behind you, seems a bit weak.
  • What is the person at the back supposed to do? IME pretty much everyone takes a turn at the back at some point, if not every few minutes in a chain gang.

    I'm not advocating mirrors at all, but the theory posited in this thread that you shouldn't have them because as a consequence you won't look behind you, seems a bit weak.

    I don't think it's that you won't look behind you, more like (as on a motorcycle) if you're checking your mirrors before manoeuvring you should also perform a shoulder check (/lifesaver) as well, ergo on a pushbike when you aren't wearing a restrictive helmet and have full peripheral vision as well as clear hearing and doing a lifesaver is quick and easy there shouldn't be any need for mirrors whatsoever. I've ridden about 80000km over the past 5 years and I honestly don't believe a mirror would have been a benefit in any situation I've been in.
  • You're not saying it, no. Others seem to be.

    The OP asked a perfectly good question, and he's got a fairly resounding "no". There just hasn't been a well-reasoned answer as to why not.
  • Yes, I've been a bit surprised by that, though as I originally observed that I seldom see others using them perhaps I shouldn't have been. I've also been surprised by the strength of feeling against from some, rather like the helmet debate, and another thread recently regarding the use (or not) of glasses. Like those things, I suppose in the end it comes down to personal preference; I too have ridden around 80,000km over the last five years (if not more) and find a mirror a genuinely useful item in increasing my awareness of what is behind me, especially, as I mentioned, when you can't hear a thing over the sound of the wind whooshing past your ears. I don't do any group riding though, so I can't say whether they are a good idea or not there.
  • You're not saying it, no. Others seem to be.

    The OP asked a perfectly good question, and he's got a fairly resounding "no". There just hasn't been a well-reasoned answer as to why not.
    The reasonong appears to be that mirrors do not bring anything to the table in terms of safety; one might arge that there is an implication that the use of mirror(s) may encourage a rider not to bother with an over-the-shoulder 'life-saver' check.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    tootsie323 wrote:
    You're not saying it, no. Others seem to be.

    The OP asked a perfectly good question, and he's got a fairly resounding "no". There just hasn't been a well-reasoned answer as to why not.
    The reasonong appears to be that mirrors do not bring anything to the table in terms of safety; one might arge that there is an implication that the use of mirror(s) may encourage a rider not to bother with an over-the-shoulder 'life-saver' check.

    I'll sort of repeat myself by asking. What if you can't turn your head around far enough to get a good look? :?
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