I’ve written before about mirrors as a bicycle safety device, but last week my mirror really saved me from getting hit.
When I ride, I constantly scan all around, always being alert for a place to ditch. When I was younger, I raced sports cars and that’s part of the instruction you learn before you get your competition license. It’s a terrific habit to get into as it could save your life.
I was riding on a two lane country road and saw a car approaching me from behind in my mirror. It was going a little too fast for the road. I noticed that the driving was somewhat erratic and assumed it was a texter or a drunk driver. As the car got closer I could see it was still swerving. I was sure I would have to ditch and looked for a tree to duck behind, just in case the driver was intentionally trying to hit me or brush me.
I timed it pretty well and was able to turn sharply and ride almost straight off the road behind a medium sized oak tree; the car was about 2 -3 feet off the road as he went by. I wasn’t able to get his license number as I was busy staying upright.
Without my $20 mirror it might have turned out very badly.
Everyone should get and use a mirror. Just in case you aren’t familiar with the basic types here are photos of two kinds that attach to your handlebars. The first is a Blackburn designed for drop bars, it attaches to the brake hood with a Velcro strap. You can electric tape it on for an even tighter fit.
The second is designed for flat bars; you insert a little expander attachment into the bar and then tighten it up. Each one sells for about $20 on the internet or your local bike store.
There are also mirrors that attach to your helmet or your eyeglasses. They use smaller mirrors, but since they are closer to your eye they still give you a good field of vision. I believe that these last two vibrate less than the handlebar mounts.
With my particular vision, I can’t use the close to the eye mirrors so I use the drop bar Blackburn. For the sake of bicycle safety, please look into this and use the type that works best for you.
With the dramatic increase in distracted drivers and the just plain nut cases out there a mirror is absolutely critical. It may take you a few rides to get used to it; but after you do you will never ride without this real protection. Please, don’t just read this and forget about it. Take action for your personal safety.