I've ridden bikes with drop bars for about 14 years, and I have never felt comfortable riding without a rear view mirror. Those available in bike shops don't seem to cater very well for the drop bars (perhaps it is not "cool" to use a mirror on a road bike!). They either vibrate like crazy, or fit into bar ends - which means a large eye movement down to look at what is happening behind. To overcome this, I made my own many years ago, and it has been quite successful. Having now bought a new toy with Ultegra gear, I had to re-design the original concept.

Essentially the mirror bit is just a Mirrcycle mirror with the handlebar plug cut off. The important bit is the 1mm aluminium attaching it to the brake hood. It is rolled to fit over the brake lever and under the rubber boot and is firmly held in place by velcro strapping. Up and down movement on the arm is minimised by the depth of the arm, and I have reduced sideways movement by putting a slight roll in the flat metal along the arm.

If anyone is interested in more detail, I'll post it later, in the meantime here is what it looks like.

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Sorry guys. I was toying with different ways i could frase it... So i guess i fit into the visually impaired cattegory also lol. Vision impaired from now on.

So hopefully i phrase this question right...

Is it a common practice for visually impaired cyclists to run mirrors on there helmets or bicycles? And is it something i should stock and recommend if i am working in a bike shop?
Do the instructions recommend you wear some form of eye protection when you cycle?

There are a lot of vision impaired people in Australia so im also very curious how easy it is to get a drivers license if you are vision impaired?... I cant quite remember they eye test they gave me, Do any of you have a drivers license? How tricky is it to drive?
No, I have no problem getting a drivers licence. They do make me do the eye test but that is because I am short sighted not because of my eye. All they do is ask you to read a poster or an eye chart that is behind them.

I haven't driven in years because I don't own a car and have no desire to own one. However, one of my work colleagues is blind in one eye and she is constantly being told by her husband not to drive in the centre of the road. She also has problems parking and that comes from not being able to judge distances as you over compensate.

Most people who have blindness in one eye get used to adjusting to things so they have become used to living like that and already know how to deal with it. For instance, I find that my hearing and my sense of 'someone is behind me' is stronger then people with a full set of eyes. They are also incredibly protective of their 'good' eye.

If I was working in a bike shop and someone visually impaired came into my shop I think they would already know what they needed to help themselves. If not, I would recommend that they get eyewear to protect their eyes when riding (most cyclists do that anyway) if they don't have sunnies or glasses.

If they wanted a mirror, I don't think many visually impaired people would go for the bike helmet mirror for the reason already given, I certainly wouldn't, that's for sure. I think the best thing would be a sturdy bike mirror. It would be good if manufacturers made one and I have a stack of them at home that I have used and realised that they are useless because they bounce around.

One other thing that you might want to mention to a visually impaired person is to be careful of what helmet they choose. I have seen the damage that some of those flimsy plastic visors have done to people's faces when they have crashed. I try to avoid those types of helmets or remove the visor,again, to protect my 'good' eye.

They will also want the strongest lights possible as at night I find my sense of distance and depth is made worse. The darker it is the worse my double vision is which is another reason why I need a good light. I have a dynmo and it's the first time in years that I have felt comfortable riding at night.

If you are riding with someone who is visually impaired, don't ride too close to them. Also be aware that their blind spot is larger then yours. That's all.

By the way, don't worry about getting the terminology right;... my sisters once called me a Cyclops so just don't call anyone that and you should be fine.
In most cases, you will not know about any vision problems that a customer may have. I feel that for the sake of less than $50, a decent mirror should be recommended to all bike buyers. (Read my bit below on Mirrcycle mirrors - the only ones worth buying in my opinion.) We don't drive cars without rear view mirrors (although in the last week I've had 2 women reverse into/almost into me because they did not look into their mirrors or behind them). Why the hell do most ride bikes without them?

On a bike we need everything going for us to get us home safely at night. I see the mirror as a part of this armoury of things to help us get home in one bit.
Darrell you said "We don't drive cars without rear view mirrors (although in the last week I've had 2 women reverse into/almost into me because they did not look into their mirrors or behind them). Why the hell do most ride bikes without them?"

My bike is not a car Darrell and i find it offensive that you compare it to one so please refrain from doing so in the future. I guess thats the main reason why the "hell" most of us dont ride bikes with mirrors.

A little more detail.
-Most of us cant reverse our bikes (ive been trying to for years.)
-bikes are not enclosed vehicles and we don't have to wear full faced helmets that give us tunnel vision.
-We do not have motors/stereos or window seals that impair our hearing.
-We are more upright and do not have car seats, support beams, reflecting windows and just blindspots in general to take into account.

And another big reason that most people turn a blind eye to.
-Cycling safety precautions are counter productive to road safety- the more things you need to have and do to ride a bike the harder it is to get people to ride bikes (so then a lot of people drive cars instead)... Less is more.

I cant really be bothered adding all the industry based reasons of why i wouldn't run mirrors. All i really want to say now is i respect why you use mirrors Darrell but when you brought the word "hell" into things i got a little surprised.
Sorry, I meant to say 'I have no idea what it must be like to have range of vision'.
I have used a helmet mirror for over 6 years commuting around Parramatta area daily. I used to have handlebar mirrors but they were no good because they vibrated too much and limited field of vision. Helmet mirrors on the other hand, don't vibrate as much and you only need to turn you head slightly to adjust to any blind spots. I run a Blackburn mirror.
I can't go back dependant on the mirror but also hearing is a good tool of awareness too.
I found that the only mirrors that vibrated excessively were those that were made with plastic arms and inadequate adjustment capability. A number of years ago Rhode Gear (now disappeared) made a good road bike mirror with metal arm and good adjustment and minimal vibration. Mirrcycle mirrors (that I used in this design for my road bike) make excellent mirrors, but generally are designed for the flat bar market. They are sturdy, have little vibration and can easily be adjusted without needing constant re-adjustment. They are the only mirror that I have had for many years that can take punishment and don't break. Because of this, I believe that if you buy any other type you are wasting your money.

In the case of the mirror setup that I have at the head of this discussion, I used 2.5mm aluminium and put a bit of a roll on what was the flat part of the arm. This substantially reduced vibration, and I've found that in most cases, it is more than adequate for all of the conditions that I ride in.

To add to Kim's comment - don't ride on the blind side of a vision impaired rider. Not only is it risky, but it is also nerve racking for them! I have also found that my hearing and "sixth sense" seems to be fairly acute, particularly in traffic. My headlight is battery powered with a 10w low and 30w high beam - seems to be adequate!
Thanks for the reply.

Im pretty sure i would ride on the blind side of a vision impaired cyclist because id never really be able to tell that they are vision impaired (unless they told me)...

Id have to deal with the vision impaired cyclist by treating them the same way i treat everyone else on the road... And thats by not expecting them to see me. Expecting motorists, pedestrians and even cyclists to see you is extremely dangerous... Sometimes you should hope but never expect.... Id rather ride next to a cyclists blind side than a cars any day.... But that just doesnt happen.

After getting involved with this topic discussion im going to wonder if the next person i see with a bicycle mirror has impaired vision or not...

Do begginers at cycling normally know what they want?
Brilliant idea Darrell.

Once upon a time Mirrcycle made a mirror very similar to yours. See this one, it's 1974 vintage...


It doesn't work on newer type brake levers, so you can't get it anymore. But it was the best damn mirror I ever had - and your design is just the thing I've been searching for. I've spent a fortune on various mirrors, including helmet, to try to find something that works just like this - all to no avail. I found helmet mirrors just didn't work for me - field of view was just too narrow, and the mirror tended to bob all over the place making it hard to get a good enough view of anything back 50 m or more.

The big advantage of the above design was that it put the mirror up nice and high (closer to eye, means better field of view), and wide of the bars where it could easily see past your body. Needed no adjustment for sitting up or drop down position.

Can you post some more details of how to construct, and details of make of your brake levers etc.,. ? I'd like to transfer this mirror to my newer bike with Shimano Sora levers, but couldn't see how to do it.

I agree with your later comments about Mirrcycle mirrors - got one for my MTB ($15 + postage from USA), and it works just so much better than anything else. It's the second best bike mirror I've owned.

And the one pictured above is > 35 years old, been dropped and bumped so many times I couldn't count it. Mirrcycle == another word for durability.
The construct details are on my website at http://home.pacific.net.au/~dasmero/tips.htm#Rear_View_Mirrors_on_D...

The brake levers are Shimano Ultegra.
nice work on the site Darrell.
Thanks. I hope that the information is of some use to those who want to do a bit of touring.


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