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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: How often do you check your mirror?
Never (don't use one). 17 31.48%
About every 3-5 seconds 12 22.22%
About every 10 seconds 7 12.96%
A few times per minute. 13 24.07%
About once per minute. 4 7.41%
Once in a while - less frequently than once per minute. 1 1.85%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-04-17, 11:45 PM   #1
Ninety5rpm
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How often do you check your mirror?

If you use a mirror, how often do you look in it?
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Old 12-05-17, 12:03 AM   #2
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Old 12-05-17, 03:04 AM   #3
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Said 3-5 seconds... but like every other aspect of cycling, it all depends on the type of traffic I am in... and what I need to know/do next.

For me, the mirror just sits there and I find I glance at from time to time and just note what traffic is doing...

It's quick glances to keep tabs on things... if traffic warrants it.
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Old 12-05-17, 03:17 AM   #4
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I'm always aware of the mirror, but don't consciously look at regular intervals.I look when I'm setting up to turn or if I hear a vehicle approaching.

With the helmet mirror I turn and tip my head often, checking my peripheral vision for anything that's moving differently, relative to the surroundings. But I don't spend a lot of time looking directly at the mirror unless I'm planning to turn.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:18 AM   #5
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It does depend on traffic, but I answered about every 3-5 seconds, because I'm usually in heavy traffic. It sounds like a lot of checking the mirror, but for me it's second nature and not something I think about and I'm not only checking in the mirror, my eyes are darting all over the place, looking for things like left hooks
and other things coming at me from the sides and all other angles.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:51 AM   #6
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I'd say the same as driving a car. If you want to know what's around you at all times then you need to be scanning the mirror every 3-4 seconds. Lots can happen in 3-4 seconds, especially with fast-moving cars.

On a MUP, I probably stop looking after the first few habitual glances.
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Old 12-05-17, 07:13 AM   #7
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Same as others have said, I'm constantly monitoring whats all around me, including behind me. Maybe ESPECIALLY behind me. Whether that's every 3-5 seconds, I don't know, never paid much attention to timing. Just smart to know what's going on around you. I monitor EVERY car approaching from behind and make sure they are slowing and/or moving safely left to pass. For me personally, that requires a mirror.
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Old 12-05-17, 07:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec View Post
Said 3-5 seconds... but like every other aspect of cycling, it all depends on the type of traffic I am in... and what I need to know/do next.

For me, the mirror just sits there and I find I glance at from time to time and just note what traffic is doing...

It's quick glances to keep tabs on things... if traffic warrants it.
Speed is also a major factor, ie are there more vehicles/bike approaching or do you need to watch the ones your passing more carefully ??
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Old 12-05-17, 09:37 AM   #9
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As others have said: it depends. In my area, there are lots of small hills and winding roads, so, when I'm out on the road, I'm watching behind me, constantly. If I'm just going around the block (which is a 5+ mile loop), I know what to expect, and I look less frequently. On the MUP, I'm usually faster than most traffic, and rarely see anything coming behind me that I need to address, so I look even less frequently, concerning myself more with the obstacles in front.


I attended a safe driving course, long ago (yes, it was court-ordered!), in which the instructor said that we should spend "one out of every five seconds" looking in the rear view mirror. That's 20% of your driving time! I think that's excessive, unless you're one of those drivers that camps in the left lane.
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Old 12-05-17, 09:44 AM   #10
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I often come up behind riders with a mirror going up a bridge and it's rare when anyone notices me in their mirror. Yesterday was the first time I can recall that a rider saw me so I suspect most riders probably look when they think it's necessary rather than continuously scanning.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
If you use a mirror, how often do you look in it?
A LOT! My mirror is helmet mounted at eye level. So I am either looking at the mirror directly, or through my peripheral vision 100% of the time, unless I get distracted somehow. I can't imagine going 10 seconds without a direct peek at the mirror.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I often come up behind riders with a mirror going up a bridge and it's rare when anyone notices me in their mirror. Yesterday was the first time I can recall that a rider saw me so I suspect most riders probably look when they think it's necessary rather than continuously scanning.
How do you determine whether or not they notice you in the mirror?
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Old 12-05-17, 12:31 PM   #13
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How do you determine whether or not they notice you in the mirror?
Good question. I'm pretty sure I do nothing that reveals I see cyclists who approach me from behind.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninety5rpm View Post
Good question. I'm pretty sure I do nothing that reveals I see cyclists who approach me from behind.
And initially I thought perhaps he meant approaching from behind in a car. Over bridges I take the lane and no car approaching from behind would think I saw them. But I don't know what I'd do on a bike with another bike approaching from behind that would give any indication I saw them, or if the poster expects something (?).
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Old 12-05-17, 04:09 PM   #15
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And initially I thought perhaps he meant approaching from behind in a car. Over bridges I take the lane and no car approaching from behind would think I saw them. But I don't know what I'd do on a bike with another bike approaching from behind that would give any indication I saw them, or if the poster expects something (?).
Perhaps they express or demonstrate surprise when he passes?
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Old 12-05-17, 11:36 PM   #16
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I put 3-5 seconds, but that's more an average. Normal traffic, about that. No one behind me, I check less often to see if there's someone new. When I get close to where I need to turn left, my time is split 50/50 front and back, to figure out when I can cut across to the left turn lane.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
How do you determine whether or not they notice you in the mirror?
I usually have to get there attention before they move to the right side of the sidewalk/path. Once they know I’m behind they move over and hold their line. It’s not the widest path but cyclists do go both ways on it so there’s enough room for two. It’s not normally covered in snow but it’s the only pic I had.

Last edited by gregf83; 12-06-17 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 12-06-17, 02:06 PM   #18
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I usually have to get there attention before they move to the right side of the sidewalk/path. Once they know Iím behind they move over and hold their line. Itís not the widest path but cyclists do go both ways on it so thereís enough room for two. Itís not normally covered in snow but itís the only pic I had.
Sidewalk/path???

Oh! I use my mirror much more on roads than on paths.

On paths, I go by the first rule of Italian driving.

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Old 12-06-17, 05:07 PM   #19
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None of the above. I'll look when needed mostly. Getting near a turn lane or pothole or something. I also don't turn my head much unless I'm indicating where I am going. I only hand signal if I'm crossing right in front of somebody.
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Old 12-06-17, 05:29 PM   #20
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I don’t use a mirror but I am looking over my shoulder a lot. Although it depends on the road, amount of traffic and time of day.
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Old 12-06-17, 08:10 PM   #21
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more than 90% of what is going to kill you is coming from in front of you, or from the side.

excessive focus on a rear view mirror, when you're not looking to change lanes or move left is counterproductive

Instead of worrying about the diminimis risk behind you ( about which you can't do much anyway) your focus needs to be ahead and to the sides, which present a dramatically bigger hazard.
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Old 12-07-17, 01:37 AM   #22
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I check my mirror more often on the MUP, often every few seconds. That's where I'm most likely to experience a close pass by someone I didn't hear coming. There are always a few guys using the MUP as their personal race track, threading between slower cyclists and pedestrians on a 4' wide sidewalk, rarely announcing or announcing as they're passing rather than before.

I don't know how often I've slowed to pass a pedestrian safely and courteously, only to find a wannabe racer threading the needle around or between us at 20 mph. I rarely encounter drivers who are as reckless as a handful of cyclists on the MUP. They don't represent the majority of MUP users by any means, but most of us would be outraged if we experienced that same behavior from drivers on the streets.

It's the main reason I avoid using the MUP during peak hours, or with groups.

And on the streets at night, as long as drivers are using their lights, I can tell whether they're behind me or off to the side by the appearance of my own shadow. Don't even need to check the mirror. And if they aren't using their headlights I won't see them in the mirror at night anyway.
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Old 12-07-17, 06:31 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
more than 90% of what is going to kill you is coming from in front of you, or from the side.

excessive focus on a rear view mirror, when you're not looking to change lanes or move left is counterproductive

Instead of worrying about the diminimis risk behind you ( about which you can't do much anyway) your focus needs to be ahead and to the sides, which present a dramatically bigger hazard.
Not always. I ride some roads that have substantial distances between intersections with few driveways, yet plenty of high speed traffic overtaking me. Definitely more risk from the rear in these situations.
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Old 12-07-17, 07:00 AM   #24
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What mirror?

Unlike Michael Keaton Batman, I can turn my head.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:10 AM   #25
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Not always. I ride some roads that have substantial distances between intersections with few driveways, yet plenty of high speed traffic overtaking me. Definitely more risk from the rear in these situations.
I too have commuted on a similar type road and agree with your assessment of the relative risks from traffic when bicycling on such roads.

I also have found that it is futile to debate relative bicycling risks of various scenarios with individuals who cite all sorts of numbers and percentages apparently culled from thin air and/or imaginations/impressions to support the "fear from the fear" dogma advocated by ardent Vehicular Cyclists.
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