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Old 10-08-17, 10:47 AM
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Location: Chicago area
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Bikes: Airborne "Carpe Diem", Motobecane "Mirage", Trek 6000, Strida 2, Dahon "Helios XL", Dahon "Mu XL", Tern "Verge S11i"

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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
I won’t ride without one. It gives me the ability to scan behind me much more frequently and more quickly.
This ^^ summarizes my point of view. Many cycling fatalities occur when the rider is hit from behind by an overtaking car.

A few years ago, the League of American Bicyclists did a survey ("Every Bicyclist Counts", here: On page 6 of that report is a list of the relative frequency of different kinds of fatal collisions. The most common type, by far, is the "rear end", where the cyclist is hit by an overtaking car. These collisions were 40% of all reported collisions. Unfortunately, there was no data collected about whether or not the riders were using rear-view mirrors, so the hypothesis that effective rear-view mirror use reduces rear-end collisions goes un-tested.

The "Rides of Silence", memorial rides to honor cyclists killed by cars, were started in 2003 in response to a cyclist's death from being struck by a school bus mirror (see: ::Ride of Silence:: History). While I think this is a worthy effort, I was disappointed that there was no mention of an effort, beyond public awareness, to reduce such collisions.

I have heard arguments from others that the cyclist can hear vehicles approaching and this makes mirrors unnecessary, or that a look over the shoulder is adequate to evaluate any given situation. There are no data to support or refute these hypotheses. But once you're used to using a mirror, it's a matter of a fraction of a second to see what's behind you, and this can be done many times a minute without turning the head. It won't surprise me, if this is ever studied scientifically, to learn that rear-view mirrors reduce rear-end collisions. Meanwhile, I'll continue to use a mirror in traffic and recommend others do the same.

One last point. Most if not all states require cars and motorcycles to be equipped with rear-view mirrors (Mirror Laws by State (U.S.) - EcoModder). Bicyclists in traffic have the same issues with visibility.
I rest.
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