Bicycle Mirrors: Are They Important For New Riders

When I started my bicycle journey a few weeks ago, I truly never thought about adding any accessories to my bike. 

The last time I really rode a bike was when I was a kid, over 50 years ago.  I didn’t need any accessories then except maybe a basket to haul all of my important crap in! 

Since I purchased a new bike, I thought that I had everything I needed. 

I quickly learned that a few accessories may be a good idea.  The first thing was mirrors for my bicycle. 

Why don’t bikes come with mirrors? 

Seriously, my motorcycle came with mirrors. I have never bought a car without mirrors.  So, why doesn’t my bike have mirrors?  I ride my bike on the same roads as my car and motorcycle.

I decided it was time to start looking into bicycle mirrors.

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Are There Benefits to Bicycle Mirrors?

The two-lane road that I have been riding on is very beautiful and peaceful, for the most part.  But it can also be a little bit dangerous. 

There are several curves and hills on my route, so cars just seem to come from nowhere. 

This led me to look into purchasing mirrors for my bike. I wanted to enjoy my rides and feel safe at the same time.  

But are bicycle mirrors beneficial? 

There are a few reasons to consider bicycle mirrors especially for beginners.   

  1. Without mirrors you must turn your head to look behind you.  When doing this you begin to veer your bike to the side that you are turned to.  This could take you into the line of traffic which could be very dangerous. 
  2. If you have decreased range of motion and balance as many of us do with aging. This can also cause difficulty when turning back to look at traffic and can cause you to fall or wreck your bike.    
  3. With mirrors you do not need to turn your head to look back behind you as often. Therefore, you can focus more on what is in front of you vs behind you. 

There are some people that feel mirrors are too distracting, so they chose not to use them.  I personally have felt safer with my mirrors when I ride.

Which Mirrors Are Best For Your Bike

There are several different types of mirrors to choose from.  So which ones are best?  This depends on several things.  Type of bike, personal preference and riding style just to name a few. 

3 Main Types Of Bicycle Mirrors

Mirrors can be mounted on the handlebars, eyeglasses or helmets.  I have tried 3 different mirrors and all 3 had their pros and cons. 

What works for one person may not work for someone else.  

Handlebar Mounted Mirrors

Handlebar mirrors can be mounted on the inside or the outside of the handgrips. 

Outside Mounting Of Handlebar Mirrors

These mirrors mount on the outside of your hand grips or into the end of your bars.  So, they are at the ends of your handlebars.

Bicycle Mirrors


  1. They are small and light weight. 
  2. They rotate so you can adjust them to your wherever you need them.
  3. They fit on many different bikes
  4. They are inexpensive


  1. Because they are on the outside of the handlebars, they are not as stable, and they tend to vibrate and move more during the ride
  2. If placed on the outside of the handgrip, they can change your hand placement on your grips. You may have to move your hands inward which may be uncomfortable since they are not sitting on the grips properly.
  3. You have to be careful that they do not hit anything when you park the bike or ride in tight areas.  This could break the mirror or cause them to fall off.  My mirror actually did fall off my bike while I was riding and I could not find it.  It was very frustrating. 

Inside Mounting of Handlebar Mirrors

These mirrors mount on the inner aspect of your handgrips.  Between the middle of the bike and the handgrips. 

Bicycle Mirrors


  1. Due to the location of the mirrors, they are more stable.  They don’t tend to vibrate as much as the bar end mounts.
  2. They are a bit bigger, so it gives you a full view of what is behind you. 
  3. They are also less convex than the smaller mirrors so you can judge the distance of the cars behind you better.
  4. It limits the amount of time that you have to turn your head and upper body around to see traffic.


  1. Can be distracting – while you are watching what is in the mirror you are missing what is in front of you.
  2. You are limited to the angle of the mirror.  You may not be able to see everything behind you and you may have a blind spot.
  3. May require adjustment when on a bumpy road due to the mirror shifting. This can be distracting while riding. 

Mirrors For Eyeglasses


  1. You do not need to worry about the style of your bike and if it is compatible with the mounting of the mirror.
  2. The mirrors are at eye level. This way you can keep you eyes on the road in front of you at all times.
  3. They do not seem to vibrate as much since they are not directly attached to the bike. 


  1. Due to the small size, you do not get as much of a view behind you. 
  2. They can distract you due to being in your peripheral visual range. 
  3. They do not fit all glasses so you will need to be careful when choosing which mirror to buy. 
  4. You have to readjust the mirror if you need to take your glasses off.
  5. They can strain your eyes if you have vision problems due to the location of the mirrors.

Mirrors For Helmets

Yep, they mount to your helmet.  So, if you do not wear a helmet when you ride this may encourage you to purchase one. 


  1. Easy to mount
  2. Light weight
  3. Allows you to see behind you at all angles depending on where you turn your head. 


  1. They are small in size so what you can see may be limited
  2. They can come loose due to the mounting of the mirror
  3. You have to take care of where you place you helmet so that it does not break off.
  4. You may need to adjust the mirror after you remove or adjust the helmet. 

Do You Need 2 Mirrors?

This is also a personal preference. 

You certainly can get by with one mirror, but you will want to make sure that it is placed on the side of the traffic.  This is usually the left side.  However, for some countries it would be the right side. 

I prefer to have 2 mirrors so that I can see every thing behind me. I ride in an area that you may need to be on the other side of the road due to road conditions.  But again, this is just what works for me. 

You do you!


So are bicycle mirrors important? That is up to you. You need to do what ever you are comfortable doing.

If you feel safer without mirrors because you feel they are distracting, don’t use them. But if you want the security of mirrors then get the ones that work for you.

Be sure to do your homework on which mirror would be best for you. Make sure that the mirror will fit your bike, glasses or helmet. 

They are not a one size fits all item.  What works for one persons bike or glasses may not work for someone else’s. 

Just stay safe out there and stay vigilant. There are so many distracted drivers.

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