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Should mirrors be mandatory?

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Cronorider, 14 Nov 2017.

  1. kingrollo

    kingrollo Über Member

    I rode a recumbent for a while - mirrors are pretty much essential. I really liked keeping an eye on the road behind. I thought when getting back on a road bike I would use mirrors - but I never did.
    I agree that twisting you head around is a clear sign that you are about to take a manoeuvre - There are also things you can miss in a mirror.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. cosmicbike

    cosmicbike Perhaps This One.....

    As others have said, I have them on the recumbent trike and they are very useful as shoulder checks are difficult
  3. Randy Butternubs

    Randy Butternubs Well-Known Member

    I've used mirrors for along time and find them really helpful. You can see cars coming from a long way back and see their road positioning as they start passing you so you are forewarned of close passes.

    They can be negatively affected by the rain and the dark but then hearing can be affected by speed/wind and traffic noise.

    Part of the reason I like them might be due to needing prescription glasses - it's uncomfortable and slow to turn my head far enough to see far behind me through the lenses.

    That said, they are a huge pain in the arse. To be useful they have to stick out beyond your handlebars so they get caught going through doors and gates and they adjust themselves when you lean the bike against something. These are not issues with other vehicles. All the mirrors I've tried that sit 'within' the handlebars are useless as my body blocks the view. They also interfere with bar ends. Perhaps they work better with drop bars.

    I can see why more people don't use them and they absolutely should not be compulsory. Ultimately they are not necessary for bicycles in the way they are for cars since you can turn to look wherever you want. If they were mandatory people would just stick a tiny unobtrusive one in the middle of their handlebars that would do nothing.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. broadway

    broadway Über Member

    I didn't say they should be mandatory, I was reply to you statement that you have an unobstructed rear view (not that I see cyclist using it).

    I also don't follow your second statement, checking a mirror takes a significantly shorter time than a full shoulder check. If I am turning right I can check the mirror to judge when to do a shoulder check without out worrying about overtaking cars. As what's in front a quick glance in a mirror would be much safer than a full shoulder check should I have to take avoiding action.
  5. Sharky

    Sharky Veteran

    Mirrors can be a help. They will indicate when it's NOT safe to move out, but cannot be relied on alone to know when it is safe to move out. Used one for a short time following a collar bone break when I could not turn by head easily, but no longer use one.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Über Member

    East Sussex
    I commuted for years in Melbourne (a long time ago) and found my mirror to be quite helpful. I didn't rely on it entirely, but found it a useful addition to various safety protocols I followed in traffic. Back then - we are talking early 1990s - I had an old tourer (old even then) and a mirror that fitted the brake hood quite nicely. I have never found one to suit any of my present bikes. If I could get such a mirror again, or such a good fit on my brake hoods, I would probably use it - that said, I haven't used a mirror in well over twenty years and haven't missed it either. But then I am not commuting through city traffic any more.

    But mandatory? No way.
  7. mustang1

    mustang1 Veteran

    London, UK

    Objects in mirrors may appear larger than reality. Or was it smaller? No no, nearer. That's it. See, so much confusion already.

    Ps. Every other vehicle has a motor, why shouldn't bikes? Oh yeah, coz they are different. :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Sea of vapours

    Sea of vapours Über Member

    No, they most emphatically should not be compulsory.

    That doesn't make them not useful and I would really miss mine if I didn't have it. It doesn't replace a shoulder check, but it does allow considerably more situational awareness at all times as I can flick my eyes to the mirror very much more frequently than I would ever turn my head and look back. As a result I usually see approaching vehicles long in advance and can modify what I do accordingly (including making sure they can't overtake on a single track road, for example, other than when I choose to allow them to at a safe point). Any actual manoevre still requires a proper shoulder check, but the constant information about what's happening behind is, to me, invaluable, in the same way as it is in a car, even though you're not performing a manoevre all the time.
    • Like Like x 3
  9. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    I have never used a mirror on any of my bikes. That is about all I've got to say on the subject, but if anyone ever tries to compel me to fit a mirror, I might be forced to have an opinion. Until that happens, I shall continue to regard it as a non-issue.
    • Like Like x 4
  10. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    I have and that's why I think they're mostly useless shoot!

    So don't you have one? :rofl:
  11. BoldonLad

    BoldonLad Well-Known Member

    South Tyneside
    Mirrors can be useful, but.......... what is this fixation with making (even more) things compulsory?
    • Like Like x 3
  12. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    So what's a mirror got to do with anything, then? :huh: (and maybe they look back while you're gazing adoringly at random body parts reflected in your mirror)

    Maybe that's because I completely don't follow your reasoning: why's it matter if there's overtaking cars? Would you turn right without shoulder-checking if some nobber's overtaking? :huh:

    I'm talking about normal road use, not exceptions. Heck, one of those James Bond inflatable coats might be useful sometimes, but let's not mandate them for everyone all the time.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    The right-wingers have got to stick to proposing cycling-related rules now PCA's banned, perhaps?
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Drago

    Drago Guru

    They should not be mandatory. Experience has shown that they are rarely used properly on vehicles where their fitment is already mandatory - there is no evidence to suggest that cyclists will be any less lazy or more conscientious than any other category of road users, so extending it to bicycles would serve no purpose.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Randy Butternubs

    Randy Butternubs Well-Known Member

    I see people say this a lot but it doesn't make sense to me. A well positioned mirror will show everything behind you. It can't magically conceal a car. If it's covered in rain or something it's obviously a different matter but otherwise it does show you if it's safe to move out or not.