cycling in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and beyond…..

Cycling Mirrors – a potential life saver

Phil Hamilton and Bob McLeod introduced me to the Take-a-Look cycling mirror (made by Bike Peddler USA) about 4 years ago and I wouldn’t now ride without it.

Generally bike mirrors fit into five categories:

Frame mounted (e.g. Bike Eye), Handlebar (Oxford Bar End, Third Eye) , Helmet (EVT Safe Zone), Eye Glasses (Take-a-Look), and (now) Arm mounted. Handlebar mirrors are probably the most popular with varieties that can be fitted to either road or mountain / hybrid bikes. Prices generally range from £10 to £20 depending on local supply or imported.

The Arguments for and against mirrors:

It’s a subject that launches lots of passion amongst cyclists. I was concerned at first that the Take-a-Look mirror is close to my right eye and could cause a serious injury if I came off. However this risk seems very low when viewed against the advantages. Another argument against mirrors is the need briefly to take your eyes off the road. Of course, as drivers, we do this all the time. With eye glass mirrors a glance behind requires only the slightest turn of the head. On the other hand a frame mounted mirror requires you to look down and this might take time to get used to.

The criticism against some frame and handlebar mounted mirrors is that they suffer from vibration. One great advantage of West Surrey CTC is that we have so much experience close to hand. So if you are thinking of buying one of these mirrors chat to John Child (frame – Bike Eye) or Pat Daffarn (handlebar) for advice.

The biggest risk with mirrors perhaps is that we might rely too much on them – especially when turning right. There’s no substitute for a life saving look over the shoulder.

In summary, if you don’t already have a mirror, think of this as your next cycling safety purchase. And if you are a regular ride leader or back marker, being able to see what’s going on behind makes a huge difference. Here are some useful links:

Take-a-Look

Bike Eye

Oxford Bar End

Third Eye

EVT Safe Zone

Arm mounted mirrors

 

 

 

2 Comments
  1. I’ve been using a bar-end mirror for many years as safety precaution –
    motorists behind, and when turning right…crossing busy road on turn off from home Also useful when cycling abroad – easily switch bar-end
    mirror to left. Wouldn’t leave home without it now.
    Only niggle is adjustment and vibration so ensure it’s tightly screwed into bar-end.

  2. Good summary, Laurie, for which many thanks. I wouldn’t lead a tour without one – they’re beyond value IMHO. I’ve always used a handlebar fitting mirror which have their downsides, as stated. As a mere group member I’d say they’re a valuable safety asset, but not essential. The jury’s still out as to which type I would go for. I don’t particularly enjoy wearing glasses when I’m riding, and I don’t always wear a helmet either. As for those mirrors that fit on your arm, I would say they’re OK in winter but perhaps uncomfortable in summer. On balance, perhaps I’d better start getting used to wearing glasses of some sort…

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