NOTE: This item was issued earlier so that those who might want to invest in a bike mirror, could take advantage of the Black Friday Sale. However there is some, more important information, about related road safety, from the USA which is now available below.
I am well aware that mirrors are frowned upon by some of the our Club membership, but in the U.S.A, cyclists are a lot more sensible and take road safety information and training more seriously than we do in the UK. Below is an article from a reputable cycling coach (https://www.coach-darryl.com/) who has written an item detailing, amongst other things, the many, very sensible safety reasons for using mirrors.
Those in our Club who have already been converted to mirror users (and the number is increasing!), will agree with what Darryl says, because they now know it to be true. So do have a quick read and see the logic in what he has to say, about why mirrors are so important.
And another write up, by a very experienced U.S roadie and long time cycling coach, who gets out every day to ride his bike. Since he started to keep a record from the 1st Jan 1994, he had reached 10,000 consecutive days on 16th May of last year!
A Simple Tip that Can Prevent a Crash, By Jim Langley.
Twice, I’ve witnessed scary crashes caused by a common mistake, which is turning your head to look behind you. Here’s what happened to two roadies I saw hit the deck after turning to look. And following the stories, is a very useful accessory for avoiding such crashes.
The first incident took place on a weekly group ride. I’ll rename the victim “Rudy.”
As we crested the top of the final rolling hill before the downgrade to the sprint finish, he punched it, attempting to get a gap and hold it to the line. I watched this move from about 15th position.
It wasn’t a dumb move. Over the years, lots of us use this tactic to beat the other sprinters to the line. But Rudy, unwisely decided to turn and look back to see whether he had opened enough of a gap. And, at that moment – as he was doing his best owl imitation – his front wheel hit a pot hole. Rudy’s front end jack knifed and he went straight down hitting the road head first. A couple of others also fell, but only Rudy required the ambulance.
The second incident happened to a friend I’ll call “Lucky,” which will ring true after reading his story!
It occurred on the often busy coastal Highway1, here in Santa Cruz, California. There’s a decent hard shoulder on that section so we were side by side talking, Lucky on the outside, the traffic side. Later we saw five riders coming toward us on the other side of the road. Lucky said, “See ya, Jim, I’m going to hop on that group!” He looked behind to check for traffic, but in doing so he veered out into next traffic lane and towards an overtaking car.
I heard the screech of brakes and the impact. I then saw the Toyota that hit Lucky, pass me and pull over, the driver jumping out to run back. I got off my bike and followed. Miraculously, Lucky was sitting cross-legged in the road merely stunned because he had run into the side of the car! Instead of being run over, maybe killed, he was just dumped in the road. There wasn’t even any obvious bike damage. “Lucky” indeed!
Looking Back is Risky
The point of both real-life crash stories is to illustrate how dangerous it can be to try to look behind you when riding. It’s dangerous because turning the head and/or body will usually change the bike’s balance and cause you to veer off course. In Rudy’s case, that inadvertent turn into the path of the car, caused his faceplant. For Lucky, who claimed after being hit, that he had looked back, he obviously did not do so very well, or he surely would have seen the Toyota.
Both crashes would have been avoided if my bike mates had used a mirror!
I hope that these two items giving advice about the proper use of mirrors – that is, to keep a constant check on traffic behind you, makes sense. I was very fortunate during my working life to do advanced motor cycle training with the Metropolitan Police. A major part of this was to practise until it became automatic, to constantly check the motor bikes mirrors for potential dangers behind. This is even more important for cyclists, because motor traffic is so much faster than us – from out of sight they can then overtake (or hit us!) within seconds. You need eyes in the back of the head to cope with this. Mirrors are the best and simplest option that you can get.