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Have blind spot? Solve it with a bicycle mirror.

"My bicycle mirror keeps me aware."

The subject of bicycle mirror use can bring on arguments almost as intense as the "Helmet Wars" found on any cycling forum on the Internet. You will get those on the side of "why would you wear one of those things, they will just obstruct your vision and make you more prone to crash" to the people that say "I find myself looking up to the right (or left depending on the person) when someone is behind me. This is very similar to the whole helmet argument with motorcycles and to an even lesser extent the drivers of hard top cars versus convertibles.

You can get on a cycling forum like Velo News has or Road Bike Review and see the avid stand people take on each side for or against the bicycle mirror.  From the road bikers who just feel too cool to wear a mirror to the mountain biker that can't keep a part new everyone has an opinion on cycles.  

Most people who just go out to ride for fun don't think too much beyond bicycle mirrorthey had on their Schwinn when they were a kid or the mirror you see in the "bike department" (don't get me started) at Wally World.  

Bicycle commuters and recumbent riders seem to gravitate toward bicycle mirrors sooner or later as purely a matter of safety.  The mirrors that are available out there are much better looking and functional than the mirrors you remember when you were a kid.


There are four kinds of bicycle mirror setups out that I will go over:

Handlebar Mount Bicycle Mirror

    Handle Bar mirrors are fit on the end of your handle bars and stick out further than the widest part of the rider.  This allows you to see behind you.    

Different designs of the handlebar mount mirror have different attachment methods.  Some use a plug that inserts into the end of your handlebar.  This is a pretty sturdy mount and doesn't take up any handlebar real estate.  It's a nice feature if you have narrow handlebars or just don't want to mount it any other way.
Other designs of handlebar mount mirrors use a clamp that will mount on top (around) the bar itself.  These can be secured with a screw or with velcro.  The screw would be a more secure mount than the Velcro by nature and will be less prone to theft.

In the table below you can see the various styles of handlebar mounted mirrors. Click on any image for more information.  Just use you back button to come back to this page if what you are looking for isn't after the click.
Handlebar Mount Mirrors
bicycle mirror
Mirrycle
bicycle mirror
Zefal Spy
bicycle mirror
Schwinn End Mount

bicycle mirror
Sprintech
bicycle mirror
Pyramid
bicycle mirror
Zefal Cyclops
bicycle mirror
Topeak Barend Mirror
bicycle mirror
Sprintech City
bicycle mirror
Zefal Dooback

With all of the varieties available, you shouldn't have any trouble picking out a mirror to fit on your handlebars should that be what you are looking for.

Helmet Mounted Mirror

For those who don't want to mount a mirror on their bike there is really only one other place to mount the mirror, on your body.  I don't knowbicycle mirror about you, but the only place that makes sense to mount a mirror on your body is your head.  I would bet that someone out there has come up with one that mounts to your hand or something but I haven't seen it.

The helmet mounted bicycle mirror mounts to your helmet in one of two ways: adhesive mount or clamp style mount.  Both styles mount to the hard shell of the helmet and not to the straps or anything flimsy.  

How to position the mirror

To get a view directly back, the mirror should be placed as far left in the field of view of the left eye as possible without creating a blind spot.   If you don't know what a blind spot is, you should try driving a 1973 Gran Torino, it will be come very clear to you when you try to change lanes.  

Anyway, the area in the left eye's field of view that is covered by the mirror should still be within the field of view of the right eye. People with large hairdos or a very large backpack won't do well with these mirrors.

In order to see clearly with the mirror, it is necessary to learn to shift attention to the eye that is looking into the mirror. For this reason, people who are strongly right-eye dominant do better to place the mirror on the right side, even in a country where traffic keeps right. Many mirrors are designed to be affixed to either side of the helmet although in the United States, where we ride on the right side of the road, a left mounted mirror will give the best visibility to the rider.

When riding in heavy traffic Vehicles (and especially, silent bicycles) which are close behind me on the left may go unnoticed because they are in the mirror's blind spot. By a simple turn of my head, I can get a better idea of what is behind me, very quickly. Another bonus when you turn your head it makes you more visible to cars and can indicate your desire to merge left.

Examples of helmet mounted bicycle mirrors can be seen in the table below. Click on any example to get more information about that particular mirror.

bicycle mirror, helmet mirror
Third Eye Foam Helmet Mirror
bicycle mirror, helmet mirror
Third Eye Pro Helmet Mirror

One of the features that draws many people to helmet mounted mirrors is they are not bike dependent.  While many people will have several bikes, most consistently use one helmet.  A helmet mount mirror will have the advantage of the natural shock absorbing your body will provide but may tend to get moved out of place if your helmet shifts on your head.

The visibility offered by a helmet mirror is quite surprising.  A simple 10 to 20 degree sweep of your head will give you a clear view of all that is behind you.  This is much less motion than required to see with a bar mounted mirror.

Eye Glass Frame Mounted Mirrors

These types of the bicycle mirror are very similar to the helmet mounted mirror.  As with the helmet mounted mirror, a simple 10 to 20 degree turn of the head will allow you to see everything behind you.  Even by turning your head 45 degrees, you can see what is on your opposite side.

An added bonus is that an eyeglass mounted mirror has all the same advantages as a helmet mounted mirror, yet vibrates even less -- though it tends to pull the eyeglasses down and is easier to misplace than a mirror which is attached to the helmet.

Generally this mounting style will position the mirror either at the same level as the eye (or slightly above) and just far enough to the side to clear your helmet.  If you ride in the cold weather, your balaclava or hood will be cleared by this style of mount.

These mirrors work by attaching to the frame arm of your glasses.  Most will attach with a three point mount (see photo)
bicycle mirror, glasses frame mirror

There are only two manufacturers of eyeglass frame mounted mirrors that I know of, Take A Look and Third Eye.  Both offer what appear to be good mirrors though the Take a Look appears to be of a higher quality.
Judge for yourself in the pictures below.  You can get more information about either by clicking on the picture.

Eyeglass Frame Mount
bicycle mirror, eyeglass frame mirror
Take A Look
bicycle mirror
Third Eye

Eyeglass Lens Mounted Mirror

There is only one company that I know of that makes a lens mounted mirror, Third Eye.  See the picture below for an idea of how it works.

The thought behind this mirror is that there is not something sticking out past the front of your face that could cause eye damage (other than your glasses) in the event of a crash.
bicycle mirror

This is a different approach to a bicycle mirror.  While they are made with high quality optics some considerations need to be made before using this kind of mirror.  
First, you can' use these if you are using prescription glasses for obvious reasons.  Your vision must be corrected before you can see and this bicycle mirror is before that correction.  Second, you can use this type of mirror on wrap around glasses for the simple reason of you will end up seeing your cheek and not what is behind you.  Thirdly, your vision will be blocked by your own head so you will need to turn your head much further to see than would be required by a helmet mount or eyeglass frame mounted mirror.

 

Wireless Remote Mirror

Well you might not be exactly ready for this but a company has come out with a product that just might be of some merit tobicycle mirror replace a bicycle mirror. Cerevellum, a company in South Carolina has developed both a wired and wireless version of an electronic rearview mirror. Not only does this work as a rearview mirror on you handlebars but it also works as a power meter, bicycle computer and heart rate monitor. Using the ANT+ Sport wireless technology, you can connect to any cycling device that also uses this technology.

You can see more about this bicycle mirror replacement at their website.

I will give a review of this once I get my hands on one and use it.

 

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