The 8 Best Bike Helmet Mirrors
Why You Need A Bike Helmet Mirror
Imagine you’re riding along on city streets, well within a designated bike path.
If you’re an avid bike rider who takes his or her cycle out onto populated roads on a regular basis, you know how perilous the journey can be. Even casual riders who stick to park trails will encounter a fair amount of obstacles both in the path before them and coming up from behind. City streets are even worse. It’s imperative that you do all you can to stay informed about your riding environment while you’re out there, but that’s not always as easy, or as safe, as it sounds.
Imagine you’re riding along on city streets, well within a designated bike path. You’ve got cars moving in the same direction as you to your left, but you need to make a left turn at an upcoming intersection. You could take your eyes off the road for a second and turn your head to survey the line of cars for a gap through which you could squeeze your bike. The problem here is that a car in front of you could very easily decide they want to turn right, and they could cut across that bike lane you’re in in order to do so. If you’re not keeping your concentration on the road ahead, you could miss such a move (especially since the car more than likely won’t signal before it moves). That could have you going head first over the hood of the vehicle before you know what hit you.
In a less dire situation, say, on a nicely kept bike path, you might be casually riding down the lane when you notice another rider up ahead who’s going a lot slower than you. You do the right thing, and peek over your left shoulder before moving to the left to pass. Then, as you go to retake your spot, some daredevil flying down the path on his racing bike tries to split the space between you, and you never saw him coming. He could very well cause all three bikes to crash.
A good bike helmet mirror eliminates the dangers in both of these scenarios. In the first, you can keep one eye on the traffic in front of you while simultaneously finding an opening in the traffic behind you. In the second, you’d notice the flying image in your mirror before attempting to retake your lane, and you could let him speed past on his merry way, then move back into the right lane once he’s off terrorizing somebody else.
How To Choose A Bike Helmet Mirror
While one bike helmet mirror may not seem terribly different from another at first glance, there are some important differences that could make one model a perfect fit for you and your riding style, and another a hindrance to your safety.
Most fit pretty universally, but keep an eye out for any mention of difficulty in attachment, especially if your helmet brand or model is a little unique.
Bike helmet mirrors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and this will be a big factor in determining which is right for you. Shape-wise, you’ll mostly see round and rectangular options on the market. Many riders prefer round models because they take up less space in your peripheral vision. Rectangular models, on the other hand, may take up a little more space due to their hard corners, but they also can give you a larger picture of what’s going on behind you. Of course, a small rectangular model might take up less space than a large circular model, but the cornerless design of the round mirror is usually considered less obtrusive.
After you consider size and shape, you’ll have to consider the arm that attaches the mirror to your helmet. The means of attachment is one aspect that could make or break a purchase, especially if a given mirror doesn’t want to play nice with the helmet you already have. Most fit pretty universally, but keep an eye out for any mention of difficulty in attachment, especially if your helmet brand or model is a little unique.
As for the arm itself, you’ll have to choose between something that’s highly adjustable and something that’s more rigid. Adjustability is good, particularly when you choose a smaller mirror, as you’ll be able to dial in its placement accurately to give you the best view behind you without obstructing the view ahead. If those adjustment points are poorly made, however, the vibrations from the road or from a big bump might knock the mirror out of position, negating its effectiveness at a potentially inopportune time.
Other Bike Safety Essentials
While investing in a bike helmet mirror can do wonders for increasing your awareness of the road around you, there are a few other essential investments you should make before heading out on the road. For starters, your visibility is paramount, and there are a number of things you can purchase in order to ensure it’s as high as possible. Reflective vests are always a good idea, particularly because their retro-reflective striping scatters light rays in every direction, not just back in the direction of the light source. That helps to ensure that you’re seen from virtually every angle.
These reflective straps can wrap around your wrists, but the best of them can also adhere to your ankles.
To add even more visibility to your ride, you could invest in safety armbands. These reflective straps can wrap around your wrists, but the best of them can also adhere to your ankles. The Gestalt theory of perception indicates, among other things, that human vision tends to notice a moving object against a background. Our eyes are drawn to it, and your feet and ankles are in near-constant motion while you’re riding a bike, so placing an emphasis on reflections from that area of your body will help you be seen more easily.
Another vital investment it the helmet itself. There are plenty of adult bike helmets on the market, many of which are as fashionable as they are protective, and you should never ride without one. You can take your helmet game up a level, however, by investing in a smart helmet, which can provide everything from a string of LED lights to a set of active turn signals to inform drivers and other cyclists of your intentions.