What's wrong with just a mirror?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2676
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Cugel » 7 Nov 2018, 9:37pm

Postboxer wrote:Different bikes and different riders will have different characteristics, maybe just different tyres and tyre pressures will produce vastly different vibrations in the handlebars and mirrors. I've always found cycle mirrors vibrate a lot and maybe as I ride in different positions, the mirror isn't always in the right position for me, currently using a bar end mirror on drop handlebars, but it's quite low and not far enough out, the view is obscured by me and the pannier when it's there. If I remember correctly I used to have one like this,

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/accessories ... drop-bars/

which may have been better but can't really remember, was a long time ago, maybe I should invest in a new one, it did make one brake hood wider than the other though.


Vibration in bike mirrors can be a problem, as it once was for motorbike mirrors. There are ways to reduce it .....

You can change it's reverberation frequency by sticking on a bit of weight. It doesn't need much. I did this with an early bike mirror that was very lightweight and it stopped vibrating except on very rough roads.

You can insulate the mirror from the vibrations of the rest of the bike. I have a boingy stem with elastomers in it to reduce road vibration to my hands at the bars. It keeps the rough road vibration at bay from the mirror too, which is also less inclined to move on it's ball & socket joint now.

Other bar-end mirror are inherently less prone to vibration. The sprintech mirrors are very steady, with no vibration on even the roughest road; and no real inclination to move either. This is due to the design of their ball and socket joint, which seems to absorb virtually all the vibration in the bars.

****
One other perspective concerning bike mirrors is that the modern better-functioning variety might well be said to be something of an essential. You wouldn't drive a car without mirrors, since mirrors enable one to know what's behind as well as what's in front without having to constantly look over one's shoulder. You can anticipate and arrange necessary actions well in advance to cater to what's coming up behind you.

If you have no bike mirror, it's unlikely that you can do this sort of anticipatory stuff as to do so you'd have to be looking behind half the time you ride. This is impractical and probably dangerous, since without a mirror you can't look both ways at once. With mirrors you can, as your peripheral vision will notice things in front even as you make repeated rapid glances to the mirror(s).

Cugel

Tangled Metal
Posts: 5840
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Tangled Metal » 8 Nov 2018, 12:47am

Actually I do look over my shoulder when moving off the slip road into motorway or dual carriageway. I do the same when pulling into the overtaking lane (s) on motorways / dual carriageways. Despite having good side mirrors there will be a blind spot. IIRC there's something about it in the HC. I'm sure there's something about it in the road craft book.

Also I don't understand your point about looking behind you taking so long and things happening so quickly in front that it's dangerous. Never been my experience. It takes very little time to look over your shoulder. We're not talking about taking a great long stare, just a look at your blind spot when you're about to start a manoeuvre. You know what's happening ahead and behind through the rear view mirror. The look over your shoulder sees the blind spot that even side mirrors can't get to. It's an action that's been used when driving since the existence of cars. Indeed I'm sure horse and cart drivers probably did it too although slower speed. I really can't see why you find it hard or dangerous. Makes no sense to me.

brynpoeth
Posts: 11274
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby brynpoeth » 8 Nov 2018, 6:35am

Actually I do look over my shoulder when driving, and I use all the mirrors

The brain is a wonderful organ, it does triangulation to determine the distance of VSOs vehicle-shaped objects
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

1982john
Posts: 431
Joined: 3 Nov 2012, 9:29pm
Contact:

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby 1982john » 8 Nov 2018, 6:57am

I doubt I'm adding anything new here..

I use a mirror but the problem is the mirror (drop bar end) only works in one position.

And yes ofcourse you can look over your shoulder but for this with a bad neck this is not a great option. Besides that can also be dangerous.

Scribblerian
Posts: 7
Joined: 6 Nov 2018, 6:55pm

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Scribblerian » 8 Nov 2018, 8:59am

slowster wrote:I very much doubt that the sight of a bit of plastic on the back of your bike will significantly influence many drivers. Given that bikes and cyclists do not have a uniform appearance, but instead vary widely and all sorts of types of different accessories and luggage etc. can be attached to a bike, I think it's doubtful that many drivers even will register the presence of your camera or recognise it as such, or give it much thought if they do. You say the effect is astounding, but you sound like someone who has had a recent religious conversion and now interprets everything that happens around them as evidence for their new faith. If it genuinely did have a significant effect, I suspect the camera makers would be very quick to fund proper studies that would prove it.

In reality the camera is just a passive measure which gives you absolutely no greater control over what happens to you, and which you are relying on instead to influence others, with the scant consolation that if they hit you there will be sufficient evidence to prosecute them afterwards.

You are missing the point of this thread, which is that mirrors (or a camera providing live feed to a stem mounted phone screen) provide real time information about what is happening on the road behind a rider, enabling the rider to take (better) decisions and so be safer. I can recall situations where the information gained from using the mirror has prompted me to make defensive/evasive manoeuvres and also assertive manoeuvres, in each case increasing my safety from vehicles behind me.


The thread is "What's wrong with just a mirror?" and I am answering that question!

The proof of beneficial effect or influence would be in the videos, except that before the rear and front cameras were in place, I did not have a continuous record of the traffic around me and its proximity to the flesh and blood that I am seeking to keep intact. A rear red light is there to help motorists see us better, and a camera pointing straight at them is an indication that we see them, too, and will have a witness if they put us in danger.

I use my handlebar mirror as much as I ever did. The rear camera was never intended as a replacement, since it tells me nothing of use until the ride is over (and hopefully not even then). My cheap little camera does transmit to my phone, but I don't use that option because my mirror and my eyes and ears work together to tell me what to do in the here and now.

I smiled at the religious conversion analogy. Truth is, we can ask motorists if a camera staring them in the face affects their behaviour towards a cyclist or if they even notice it, and research on that might be called for, but divinities of all stripes are notoriously uncommunicative!

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2676
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Cugel » 8 Nov 2018, 11:11am

Tangled Metal wrote:Actually I do look over my shoulder when moving off the slip road into motorway or dual carriageway. I do the same when pulling into the overtaking lane (s) on motorways / dual carriageways. Despite having good side mirrors there will be a blind spot. IIRC there's something about it in the HC. I'm sure there's something about it in the road craft book.

Also I don't understand your point about looking behind you taking so long and things happening so quickly in front that it's dangerous. Never been my experience. It takes very little time to look over your shoulder. We're not talking about taking a great long stare, just a look at your blind spot when you're about to start a manoeuvre. You know what's happening ahead and behind through the rear view mirror. The look over your shoulder sees the blind spot that even side mirrors can't get to. It's an action that's been used when driving since the existence of cars. Indeed I'm sure horse and cart drivers probably did it too although slower speed. I really can't see why you find it hard or dangerous. Makes no sense to me.


My car mirrors have no blind spots. They have a small additional area that reflects things that are more or less abreast of the car rather than behind it. Moreover, if you use the mirrors as intended, you should be aware at all times of what's behind, what's coming up and what actually has come up and reached you.

The bike mirrors are not so functional as the car mirrors, it's true - no extra bit to spot things-abreast. But they do provide the facility to be always aware (if you use them) of what's behind, coming-up and come-up. In addition, your hearing is of far more use on a bike than it is in a car - the only exception being those rear-engine buses that can waft up unheard .... but they do loom large in one's mirrors.

Your quick glance behind is, in my experience, never quick. This is particularly so in complex traffic situations, where you need time to take in all that's there. Those same situations are the ones where the traffic in front is also complex and dense - the very situations in which it's unwise to take your eyes off the road in front for even an instant.

Cugel

kwackers
Posts: 13731
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby kwackers » 8 Nov 2018, 11:20am

Cugel wrote:In addition, your hearing is of far more use on a bike than it is in a car

All I can hear is wind noise! In fact the wind noise is so loud I usually wear ear plugs (which make for much more relaxed ride to boot).
Helmets make the wind noise massively worse too, ime unless the wind is from behind its not that often I hear a car until it's on top of me (which is the main reason a mirror that actually worked would be a good thing).

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2676
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Cugel » 8 Nov 2018, 1:12pm

kwackers wrote:
Cugel wrote:In addition, your hearing is of far more use on a bike than it is in a car

All I can hear is wind noise! In fact the wind noise is so loud I usually wear ear plugs (which make for much more relaxed ride to boot).
Helmets make the wind noise massively worse too, ime unless the wind is from behind its not that often I hear a car until it's on top of me (which is the main reason a mirror that actually worked would be a good thing).


Wind noise is one reason (amongst many others) that I don't wear a helmet. Traffic noise is very informative.

Generally I get no significant wind noise in a cotton cycling cap. Despite being a touch deaf I can hear traffic noise with no problem as my deaf bit isn't in the frequency range that traffic typically generates. I have hearing aids but wearing them uncovered on a bike makes even more wind noise than a helmet strap, despite their clever wind noise reducing thingy.

Perhaps you have wind-catcher ears? :-)

In winter I can wear the hearing aids under the woolly hat where they're immune from wind noise, which makes the traffic sound very loud. Even a sneaky rear-engine bus can be heard when it's some way behind.

The mirror, though, is not just something to be used at the last possible moment before turning right or whatever, as a substitute for the last-glance over the shoulder that many are advocating. A mirror's function is to provide lots of what's-behind-me information at all times, so you know what's behind, what's coming-up and what is-up. I see many drivers and cyclists who don't use their mirrors much at all and have no idea what's behind them until halfway through a manoeuvre.

"Manoeuvre, signal, mirror" as the old joke goes.

There's a famous technique employed in advance driver lessons where the instructor, at random moments, covers the mirror and asks the driver to tell what's behind. This encourages the forming of that habit of mirror use that makes you glance in it every 5-10 seconds. It works. It's what I do on the bike. It obviates the need for the over-the-shoulder look, with all its attendant dangers.

Cugel

kwackers
Posts: 13731
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby kwackers » 8 Nov 2018, 1:27pm

Cugel wrote:The mirror, though, is not just something to be used at the last possible moment before turning right or whatever, as a substitute for the last-glance over the shoulder that many are advocating. A mirror's function is to provide lots of what's-behind-me information at all times, so you know what's behind, what's coming-up and what is-up.

And that's exactly how I want to use a mirror.

Trouble is I haven't found one that works and my box full of those that don't grows monthly - although slower these days as most 'recommendations' I see on here I've already tried.

One thing that shocked me was fitting a camera to my bike that faced backwards and could see me.
You think you can take a quick look in a mirror?
Think again. Turned out that quick glance in a mirror was anything but. OTOH over the shoulder glances were a lot quicker than I thought - in fact almost half the time it took me to look at the mirror and try to make sense of the postage stamp fuzzy image.

Postboxer
Posts: 1465
Joined: 24 Jul 2013, 5:19pm

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Postboxer » 8 Nov 2018, 2:25pm

I've bad eyesight so can't see clearly with a shoulder check without looking through my glasses, maybe I should try some rides in my contacts to see if it makes much difference, at the moment to do a shoulder check I have to turn a lot to get a clear look, now I just need to learn to cycle in a straight line whilst doing it!

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2676
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Cugel » 8 Nov 2018, 3:13pm

kwackers wrote:
Cugel wrote:The mirror, though, is not just something to be used at the last possible moment before turning right or whatever, as a substitute for the last-glance over the shoulder that many are advocating. A mirror's function is to provide lots of what's-behind-me information at all times, so you know what's behind, what's coming-up and what is-up.

And that's exactly how I want to use a mirror.

Trouble is I haven't found one that works and my box full of those that don't grows monthly - although slower these days as most 'recommendations' I see on here I've already tried.

One thing that shocked me was fitting a camera to my bike that faced backwards and could see me.
You think you can take a quick look in a mirror?
Think again. Turned out that quick glance in a mirror was anything but. OTOH over the shoulder glances were a lot quicker than I thought - in fact almost half the time it took me to look at the mirror and try to make sense of the postage stamp fuzzy image.


Were there a reasonable cost and effective rear camera with good-visibility screen on the bars, I'd be tempted to have one rather than a mirror - although I find the Sprintech and Cateye handlebar mirrors with convex view more than adequate. (Is you eyesight compromised? I do need to wear my prescription specs to see clearly what the mirrors show me).

I find that I can see both mirror contents and the view ahead simultaneously. This means that one of these dual views is less detailed than the other since it's via peripheral rather than full-focus vision. But switching attention between them is very quick, far faster than a head turn. And the peripheral vision somehow notices significant movements.

Will not a camera and screen make you something of a hostage to fortune? What if the battery goes? What if the camera lens gets a dollop of mud or similar on it? What if the thing just goes phut?

Cugel

Scribblerian
Posts: 7
Joined: 6 Nov 2018, 6:55pm

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Scribblerian » 8 Nov 2018, 3:49pm

Cugel wrote:
kwackers wrote:
Cugel wrote:
Will not a camera and screen make you something of a hostage to fortune? What if the battery goes? What if the camera lens gets a dollop of mud or similar on it? What if the thing just goes phut?



I wouldn't count on my WiFi rear camera to substitute for a good old-fashioned mirror. I chose it for the reasons stated earlier, not as a mirror replacement but as a safety aid and a "witness" to dangerous driving so egregious that the police should be notified.
We wear hi-viz jackets and mount flashing rear lights not to make us better riders, but to make us more visible to vehicles coming up behind us.
A camera that can easily be seen serves the same purpose, and will do so even with a flat battery or with mud on the lens.
Mud splats etc. would be dodgy with a screen hooked up, but I don't use that option.

kwackers
Posts: 13731
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby kwackers » 8 Nov 2018, 4:00pm

Cugel wrote:Will not a camera and screen make you something of a hostage to fortune? What if the battery goes? What if the camera lens gets a dollop of mud or similar on it? What if the thing just goes phut?

Cugel

I don't think there's anything wrong with my eyes (need specs for reading now - although I can squint read without), but my eyesight has always been excellent at distance.

I've no worries about technological solutions going phut. IME most stuff these days is very reliable and at the end of the day it's just a mirror and I've years of experience of not having one...

I think I might have a go at making my own mount and reusing one of the many mirrors I've got.

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2676
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Cugel » 8 Nov 2018, 6:24pm

Scribblerian wrote:
Cugel wrote:
kwackers wrote:


I wouldn't count on my WiFi rear camera to substitute for a good old-fashioned mirror. I chose it for the reasons stated earlier, not as a mirror replacement but as a safety aid and a "witness" to dangerous driving so egregious that the police should be notified.
We wear hi-viz jackets and mount flashing rear lights not to make us better riders, but to make us more visible to vehicles coming up behind us.
A camera that can easily be seen serves the same purpose, and will do so even with a flat battery or with mud on the lens.
Mud splats etc. would be dodgy with a screen hooked up, but I don't use that option.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I would have the cameras if they were ubiquitous - if every other road user knew that their actions were being recorded from the multiple viewpoints of other road users. This virtual panoptican would, if combined with an effective legal system that could use the video evidence, surely reduce the number of aggressive acts. If detection and punishment is certain, there will be a preventative effect.

But if it's just you, me and a few others with cameras then Johnny Motorist is likely not to notice, even if one puts a big sticker on the thing with an arrow saying CAMERA. Moreover, without an effective legal system that can routinely and rapidly use camera evidence, Johnny Motorist will be even less likely to care about our cameras.

I'm not interested in proving a loon got me with his car, from behind or any other direction. I'm much more interested in preventing or avoiding such loon actions.

Cugel

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 2676
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: What's wrong with just a mirror?

Postby Cugel » 8 Nov 2018, 6:32pm

kwackers wrote:
Cugel wrote:Will not a camera and screen make you something of a hostage to fortune? What if the battery goes? What if the camera lens gets a dollop of mud or similar on it? What if the thing just goes phut?

Cugel

I don't think there's anything wrong with my eyes (need specs for reading now - although I can squint read without), but my eyesight has always been excellent at distance.

I've no worries about technological solutions going phut. IME most stuff these days is very reliable and at the end of the day it's just a mirror and I've years of experience of not having one...

I think I might have a go at making my own mount and reusing one of the many mirrors I've got.


It does help greatly if the bike mirrors can be made free of vibration and the inclination to move (from vibration or wind pressure). It also helps to get their position just right, which can take a fair degree of fiddlepharting about. Once those matters are fettled, the mirrors become much more useable.

It's true that many of us did (some still do) ride without mirrors. But I have to say I much prefer having them, as it lends a certain confidence to know at all times what's behind as well as what's in front. I've never been hit from behind but have had quite a few pre-mirror frights when close-passed or snuck up on by a rear-engine bus. Happily I'm not inclined to the panicky wobbles in such situations but that's just luck. Many can and do give an involuntary wobble when surprised from behind in those ways.

Cugel