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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-02-13, 06:04 PM   #101
Darth Lefty 
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Perhaps it's cycling's Italian heritage, since you find useless mirrors only large as required by law on Ducatis and Lamborghinis. It's a no matta whatsa behinda you, gas-a-gas-a-gas!
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Old 05-02-13, 06:42 PM   #102
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I use the [h=1]Mirrycle MTB Bar End Mountain Bicycle Mirror[/h]http://www.amazon.com/Mirrycle-MTB-M...cmu_pg__header
but i have it pointed down and to the left, instead of up and to the left (too close to my bar ends)

i love it. it is so useful for seeing what is coming behind me on the roads, without having to constantly turn around and risk hitting a pothole or something or lose balance. honestly, i don't think i'd want to do my commute without out.
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Old 05-07-13, 06:34 AM   #103
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I don't have a mirro on my bike .... yet but I have a couple questions for those who do. 1) Since getting hit behind is fairly rare, do you think being able to see something approaching from behind can actually help you prevent being hit?
Personally, I still trust that cars are going to see me and go around, so I don't think the mirror is going to save me from being rear ended. I've always been kind of baffled by people saying they are going to dive in a ditch based on what they see in the mirror. Unless I see the big rig from Duel behind me straddling the shoulder, I'm just going expect the car to go around.

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2) What does "awareness" of the surrouding buy you in terms of safety?
I think where it really helps me is with all the rude cyclists who pass me and don't bother to ring their bells or call out. Several times I've been about to make a left turn or dodge a pothole, only to luckily spot some a-hole passing right next to me. We both would have went down in a nasty wreck if I hadn't seen them there. For me the benefit of the mirror isn't so much safety as making my riding easier and more pleasant. Being able to see when it is clear behind me to change lanes without having to be constantly looking over my shoulder is invaluable. I suppose there is a safety component to that, because I can keep most of my attention focused on the hazards to the front of me.

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3) Even with the mirror, do you still turn around to look before you turn? Thanks.
Before I got my mirror I thought I'd still look over my shoulder, but the Safe Zone has such a nice field of view in it, I quickly found that I didn't need to. Now I rarely bother to look over my shoulder. I suspect part of that might be where it sits in my field of view, even without looking directly at it I think I'm subconsciously getting some information from it about what's behind me, so that a quick glance confirms that nothing is there.
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Last edited by Medic Zero; 05-07-13 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 05-07-13, 07:03 AM   #104
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Hey that Safe Zone looks like it mounts pretty well. Does it use a glass mirror by chance?
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Old 05-07-13, 07:05 PM   #105
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I always listen for cars and look at every single car coming behind me in the mirror. I can tell if they saw me when they move over to give me 3ft clearance. If they are coming right for me, it means they did not see my blinking lights, reflective safety vest etc. I move over onto the gravel. Also very useful in the city when swapping lanes to turn. I can't ride without a mirror.
My standard procedure for being overtaken on a country road is to watch the mirror, so I can see when the car behind me applies his brakes, or comes off of his line move around me. Then and only then do I move over into the three feet or so of the lane I've been saving for myself. Without the mirror it's much harder to judge whether the car/truck/minivan-of-death, has decided to go around me or to knock me down into the ditch. The mirror is also key for this when you're driving into a headwind and you can't really hear much of anything coming from behind you.
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Old 09-08-15, 09:47 AM   #106
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My standard procedure for being overtaken on a country road is to watch the mirror, so I can see when the car behind me applies his brakes, or comes off of his line move around me. Then and only then do I move over into the three feet or so of the lane I've been saving for myself. Without the mirror it's much harder to judge whether the car/truck/minivan-of-death, has decided to go around me or to knock me down into the ditch. The mirror is also key for this when you're driving into a headwind and you can't really hear much of anything coming from behind you.
I do this too. The key is knowing when to look. I have gotten "ambushed" by cars when I don't check my mirror often enough. A prompt on when to look would be helpful.

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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I use both left and right rearview mirrors, in my case Take-a-Look eyeglass mounted ones. I got the idea from a cycling companion who used only a right hand mirror. The additional right hand mirror affords a pretty good rearward view, but is particularly useful:
  1. Riding on the left-hand side of a one-way street
  2. Riding in the middle or left lanes of a two-way thoroughfare
  3. In a rotary
  4. On a curved road to the right
  5. When passing entrance/exit ramps from a freeway, with the right hand mirror, I can view the ramps to my right, and stay wide of them, while watching upcoming traffic on my left, all while almost continuously looking straight ahead
  6. When the sun is directly behind, usually one mirror can be positioned away from the glare of the sun
  7. When wearing a backpack, usually one mirror has a less-obstructed view over my shoulder.
My main argument for a mirror, particularly in the urban environment is summarized by Jim’s Law of the Road: “No matter how well paved or lightly-traveled the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.”


One other situation where hearing is ineffective, even on rural roads, occurs when being passed by one car, and I'm never sure that another one is following the first. No problem with a mirror.

Addendum: This past weekend I rode with a companion on a low-riding recumbent three-wheel trike. I just deflected my right-hand mirror slightly downwards so I didn’t have to crane my neck upwards to see him. The left-hand mirror was still in place to monitor reaward traffic.

Actually, what has my interest, is the new Garmin Varia rear facing radar. That in conjunction with a mirror would be a great combination, I think. The Varia keys you to when you should be paying attention to the mirror.

J.
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Old 09-08-15, 12:00 PM   #107
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Gotta have a mirror. Even more than a helmet, gloves or that rack and baskets to make Big Red look purty.

Only been back in the saddle a week after a 30 year I-hate-us from cycling, and I miss my mirror more than any other bit of gear. Mostly because I can't turn my head anymore, due to a C2 cervical fracture.

Many moons ago I preferred a mirror on an elastic strap around my left hand. Easy to adjust the angle just by clenching or turning my hand slightly. Looks like only some ATV type sporting goods dealers carry those now.
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Old 09-08-15, 03:04 PM   #108
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Many moons ago I preferred a mirror on an elastic strap around my left hand. Easy to adjust the angle just by clenching or turning my hand slightly. Looks like only some ATV type sporting goods dealers carry those now.
And Amazon... I gave these a try last year after hearing about them here. I went all in and got two. I didn't find them useful. Perhaps if I did the Lowrider thing and rocked ape hanger handlebars. I kept them because I might just build a recumbent someday, but if you are interested... I'd let them go for the postage which shouldn't be much, they're pretty light.
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Old 09-08-15, 05:10 PM   #109
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Two mirrors for me. I use a Take-a-Look mounted on my helmet and a STI mounted Mirrycle. Really like this set-up.
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Old 09-08-15, 09:06 PM   #110
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I have the Take-A-Look mirror.

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Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
I don't have a mirro on my bike .... yet but I have a couple questions for those who do. 1) Since getting hit behind is fairly rare, do you think being able to see something approaching from behind can actually help you prevent being hit? 2) What does "awareness" of the surrouding buy you in terms of safety?
Consider a situation where there are vehicles all around and the road conditions aren't great. There is no time to look behind to check on approaching vehicles. In order to maneuver you would need to slow down and stop, look behind proper, and then start moving again.

Mirrors help a lot here. With a mirror you could see what's behind you properly with more time. You would note speed and positioning relative to yours, and this information would enable you to maneuver in the way you want without having to stop and check.

Mirrors are enabling!

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3) Even with the mirror, do you still turn around to look before you turn? Thanks.
Not really.
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Old 09-08-15, 09:10 PM   #111
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I have trouble with the helmet-mounted mirrors, partly because they're so tiny, and partly because I can't position them in a way that doesn't seem to strain my eyeballs every time I want a quick glance. I tried a cheap handlebar mirror, but it was bouncing like crazy. Any recommendations for a stable, generous-sized, reasonably-priced handlebar mirror? I'd be attaching it to a hybrid.

Even with a mirror, I'll still make a big show of turning my head. I think the extra motion helps get drivers' attention, plus I like making eye contact when possible.
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Old 09-08-15, 11:09 PM   #112
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Looking over one's shoulder before maneuvering is a must. It's called "a lifesaver" in motorcycling. In a car you could damage a car, on a two wheeled vehicle you can get seriously injured. Always look over one's shoulder just in case - checking blind spots. Mirror just makes it possible to do just one look over a shoulder - once you see in the mirror it is clear. Instead of looking many times until it is clear (without a mirror). But having a mirror should never exclude checking over one's shoulder before turning. It can be a costly one second "saved".
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Old 09-09-15, 07:56 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero;15597591[B
...Before I got my mirror I thought I'd still look over my shoulder, but the Safe Zone has such a nice field of view in it, I quickly found that I didn't need to. Now I rarely bother to look over my shoulder. I suspect part of that might be where it sits in my field of view, even without looking directly at it I think I'm subconsciously getting some information from it about what's behind me, so that a quick glance confirms that nothing is there.
Same here (with my Take-a-Look), but this morning I realized one situation where I always do a shoulder check. When I'm at the curb at a stoplight, I do a left over-the-shoulder look to make sure the car on my left won't right hook me.

A valuable adage I learned on BF is that you can only reliably predict the direction of a car, especially a stopped one, by the direction of the front wheels, which I can't see when next to me.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-09-15 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 09-09-15, 08:15 AM   #114
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I tried a cheap handlebar mirror, but it was bouncing like crazy. Any recommendations for a stable, generous-sized, reasonably-priced handlebar mirror? I'd be attaching it to a hybrid.
I have one of these on my hybrid - the Mountain version:
http://www.mirrycle.com/mirrycle_mirrors.php

The parts are tightly threaded - meaning you would have to work hard to screw the parts together and secure it onto your bike. But the other side of that coin is that it's stable. Once you have it set to the angle you want, it will stay there until you fold it away. It gives me a good rear view of the lane to my left as well as anything coming up behind me. My only complaint is that when I touch it with my sweaty hands the moisture stays there, so I try not to touch the mirror surface directly when I adjust it.
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Old 09-09-15, 08:18 AM   #115
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I have trouble with the helmet-mounted mirrors, partly because they're so tiny, and partly because I can't position them in a way that doesn't seem to strain my eyeballs every time I want a quick glance. I tried a cheap handlebar mirror, but it was bouncing like crazy. Any recommendations for a stable, generous-sized, reasonably-priced handlebar mirror? I'd be attaching it to a hybrid.

Even with a mirror, I'll still make a big show of turning my head. I think the extra motion helps get drivers' attention, plus I like making eye contact when possible.
The best mirror with respect to bouncing that I have found is the Bike Eye. Handlebars are going to be bouncier than the frame.

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Old 09-09-15, 08:43 AM   #116
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I've been considering a helmet mounted mirror. My motto is better alive than cool, and explains why my cycling gloves are day glo yellow and not a "cool" color.
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Old 09-09-15, 08:56 AM   #117
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I've been considering a helmet mounted mirror. My motto is better alive than cool, and explains why my cycling gloves are day glo yellow and not a "cool" color.
With the possible exception of Trekking Bars, there are very few bike components that are inherently 'uncool'. It's in cyclists minds that such and such component or item of safety gear is "Fred". Most non-cyclists think helmet mirrors are kind of funky and ... 'sool'. I get many positive comments on mine. You are on your own with the day-glo gloves. No experience there.
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Old 09-09-15, 09:02 AM   #118
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Looking over one's shoulder before maneuvering is a must. It's called "a lifesaver" in motorcycling. In a car you could damage a car, on a two wheeled vehicle you can get seriously injured. Always look over one's shoulder just in case - checking blind spots. Mirror just makes it possible to do just one look over a shoulder - once you see in the mirror it is clear. Instead of looking many times until it is clear (without a mirror). But having a mirror should never exclude checking over one's shoulder before turning. It can be a costly one second "saved".
Absolutely. Quoted in entirety for emphasis. This should really be the last word. Is there another field of human endeavor where so much misinformation is promulgated by the ignorant as sage wisdom and competes head to head with reality in an ongoing existential stalemate? It would simply be head scratching if it weren't for the fact that cyclists are out there dying for their ignorance, and refusal to adopt safer practices in light of new information.
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Old 09-09-15, 09:04 AM   #119
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With the possible exception of Trekking Bars, there are very few bike components that are inherently 'uncool'. It's in cyclists minds that such and such component or item of safety gear is "Fred". Most non-cyclists think helmet mirrors are kind of funky and ... 'sool'. I get many positive comments on mine. You are on your own with the day-glo gloves. No experience there.
Day-Glo gloves ensure that certain hand gestures emphasizing usage of certain fingers are seen better in low light conditions.

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Old 09-09-15, 09:33 AM   #120
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Looking over one's shoulder before maneuvering is a must. It's called "a lifesaver" in motorcycling…Always look over one's shoulder just in case - checking blind spots. Mirror just makes it possible to do just one look over a shoulder - once you see in the mirror it is clear. Instead of looking many times until it is clear (without a mirror). But having a mirror should never exclude checking over one's shoulder before turning. It can be a costly one second "saved".

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Absolutely. Quoted in entirety for emphasis. This should really be the last word. Is there another field of human endeavor where so much misinformation is promulgated by the ignorant as sage wisdom and competes head to head with reality in an ongoing existential stalemate? It would simply be head scratching if it weren't for the fact that cyclists are out there dying for their ignorance, and refusal to adopt safer practices in light of new information.


I think the main controversy on mirror threads such as this one is that many subscribers post that shoulder checks eliminate mirrors, not the mirrors eliminate shoulder checks. Because mirrors can be periodically viewed, one often knows what’s behind for quite a distance. Of course if uncertain about what’s immediately behind, a shoulder check is useful. But I think a shoulder check can be limited by how far you can twist, and how long you want to linger scanning the rearward view.

The hazard of shoulder checks is that you need to turn your head and eyes away from the line of travel. Not infrequently I am going downhill pretty fast, on a pothole-strewn-road, and I can nearly simultaneously view frontwards and rearwards with a rearview mirror.

My argument for use of a mirror is Jim’s Law of the Road, ”No matter how well-paved and lightly traveled is the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.”
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Old 09-09-15, 09:45 AM   #121
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I think the main controversy on mirror threads such as this one is that many subscribers post that shoulder checks eliminate mirrors, not the mirrors eliminate shoulder checks. Because mirrors can be periodically viewed, one often knows what’s behind for quite a distance. Of course if uncertain about what’s immediately behind, a shoulder check is useful. But I think a shoulder check can be limited by how far you can twist, and how long you want to linger scanning the rearward view.

The hazard of shoulder checks is that you need to turn your head and eyes away from the line of travel. Not infrequently I am going downhill pretty fast, on a pothole-strewn-road, and I can nearly simultaneously view frontwards and rearwards with a rearview mirror.

My argument for use of a mirror is Jim’s Law of the Road, ”No matter how well-paved and lightly traveled is the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.”
I agree - mirror makes it easier to scan the situation behind. Which leaves you with one shoulder check - just before making a turn. Just in case. Just if someone, somehow, manages to get to your blind spot, in spite of using mirrors. It is a wise thing to do whether driving a car, motorcycle, or a bicycle (with a mirror).

If you haven't got the time for a shoulder check, you're going too fast for the traffic conditions.
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Old 09-09-15, 09:51 AM   #122
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Day-Glo gloves ensure that certain hand gestures emphasizing usage of certain fingers are seen better in low light conditions.J.
I think it was Lincoln who said one should keep silent and let others think they are a decent, stand-up kind of guy than to speak out and kill the notion...
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Old 09-09-15, 09:55 AM   #123
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What about 4-way stop signs? When I come to one with a decent shoulder and I'm going straight I'll come up adjacent to the lead car (if he's not turning right ) and go at the same time he does.

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How do you know? Turn signals are very unreliable, and at least around here, drivers are not expecting someone to come up on their right.
So true. Just this morning I posted above:

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… this morning I realized one situation where I always do a shoulder check. When I'm at the curb at a stoplight, I do a left over-the-shoulder look to make sure the car on my left won't right hook me.

A valuable adage I learned on BF is that you can only reliably predict the direction of a car, especially a stopped one, by the direction of the front wheels, which I can't see when next to me.
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Old 09-09-15, 10:03 AM   #124
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I think it was Lincoln who said one should keep silent and let others think they are a decent, stand-up kind of guy than to speak out and kill the notion...

I grew up in Chicago in the Land of Lincoln. The gestures are part of the rating system that drivers use to give "feedback" to one another. Notice that the gesturing insures silence.

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Old 09-09-15, 10:07 AM   #125
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I have on the odd occasion in my past life as a frequent flyer Interstate commuter been guilty of checking my wing mirror and then, seeing it all clear, launching the Turbo Passat in a high G lateral drift right into the idiot who has been loafing along to my immediate left without passing me! Every time this has happened, some latent instinct to do an actual visual check has saved our bacon's as I then have to haul her back into my lane, scaring both myself and the other driver badly, but leaving our collision deductibles unspent.

I will complete lane changes on a bicycle with only my mirrors word for it that the situation is clear, but on a bike one is far more exposed to auditory, olfactory and peripheral visual cues that can corroborate (or refute) the mirrors verdict. It cannot be recommended as a best practice, however.
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