How To Choose & Use A Bicycle Mirror For Safety & Confidence

A bicycle mirror is a great way to boost your situational awareness and increase your safety and confidence on the bike. Bike mirrors can help you see traffic and other riders behind you so you can know when it is safe to stop, go, or turn.

Bicycle mirrors are worth it if you know where to put them on your bike and how to use them safely. The right mirror, mounted in the right spot, can increase your sense of safety and confidence. In addition, you’ll be able to check for traffic coming up behind you and keep an eye on other cyclists who are traveling with you. 

However, if you aren’t careful, bicycle mirrors can be more of a distraction than a help. A mirror is not a substitute for turning and looking behind you without drifting off course, but it gives you different views of what is happening behind you. Knowing where to mount your mirror will help you use your new mirror more safely. 

What side to mount a bike mirror on?

Bike mirrors are permanently mounted on the opposite side where you ride your bike. In a country where you drive on the right side of the road, you should mount your bike mirror on the left. Mounting your mirror on the left-hand side gives you more view of the road so you can see both lanes of traffic.

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In addition, automobiles will be more likely to pass you on the left, so you should be able to see them as they approach. 

If you ride your bike in a country where you drive on the left side of the road, mount your mirror on the right-hand side. Again, this gives you a view of both sides of the road if you use your bicycle mirror correctly. 

If you desire, you can use two bicycle mirrors and put one on each side of your bike so you can see more of the road behind you without turning around. Bicycle mirrors will help you be more safe if you use them correctly. 

How do you use a bicycle mirror?

Think of a bicycle mirror like your automobile’s side view or rear-view mirror. You wouldn’t drive down the road staring at your car mirrors. Using a bicycle mirror is pretty much the same. Don’t stare at your mirror for extended periods because you’ll be more likely to crash into something in front of you or veer off the road

Instead, ride like you normally would, occasionally glancing at your mirror to see what’s happening behind you. When you need to change lanes or make a turn, first glance at your mirror, and if it appears clear, then look behind you to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Only change lanes or turn when it is safe to do so, and make sure you signal appropriately. 

A bike mirror is never a substitute for turning and looking behind you; instead, it is an additional means of monitoring your surroundings.

If you are leading a group ride, you can also use your mirror to make sure you haven’t lost your group members. A glance into your mirror will help you know if your group can keep up or if stragglers are beginning to fall behind. Then you can adjust your pace accordingly. 

Now that you know how to use your bike mirror, you need to know what to look for when purchasing a new one. 

What to look for in a bicycle mirror?

When you purchase a bicycle mirror, look for one that suits your bicycle type, the type of riding you enjoy, and the style of mirror that is comfortable for you. For example, some mirrors mount to your bicycle helmet, and others mount to your glasses, and some mount to your handlebars. 

Income School

Some bicycle mirrors are made of plastic, while others are available in shatter-proof glass that gives you a better picture. You can find larger mirrors to provide you with more of a view behind you, but they also give off more sun glare in bright light.

Also, convex mirrors will give you a more comprehensive view but will distort the image. Small round mirrors will give you a more accurate but smaller picture of what’s behind you. Finally, you might want to purchase an adjustable mirror to change the angle of what you see while you are riding. 

Mirror types of and where to mount them

Mirrors for drop bars

Some bar-end mirrors are explicitly made for drop-bar bikes. The mirror replaces the bar plug on one, or if you prefer, both sides of your handlebars. Bar-end mirrors can come in a fixed style or adjustable style. This type of mirror is excellent for road riders and ride leaders. 

Mirrors for flat bars

Flat bars present a different challenge since a standard bar end mirror won’t face the right direction. However, some companies, such as Mirrycle, make a flat bar mirror that attaches to your bar end. The mirror is on a long bracket so you can angle it in the correct direction. 

Mirrors for beach cruisers and swept-back bars

For a beach cruiser, you might want a handlebar-mounted mirror. These mirrors look more like a car’s side-view mirror. They are generally square and attach to the handlebars with a metal bracket. They are not nearly as aerodynamic as a drop bar mirror but will give you a bigger view of what’s behind you. 

Arm mounted mirrors

RearViz is a unique bicycle mirror that attaches to your wrist instead of the bike. It uses a velcro armband to stay in place.  You could use this type of mirror with any style of riding. However, mountain biking and gravel riding may be too bumpy for this mirror to be practical. You can see this type of mirror here.

Helmet mounted mirrors 

Helmet-mounted mirrors are much smaller and are made to clip onto your bicycle helmet. The benefit of these is that you only need to shift your eyes to see what’s behind you rather than looking down at a mirror attached to your handlebars.  These are great for riders with a little less mobility. However, some riders are concerned about the safety of a helmet-mounted mirror in a crash. 

Glasses mounted mirrors

Glass-mounted cycling mirrors are great for commuters. These tiny mirrors attach to your sunglasses or eyeglasses. So you can quickly glance behind you by just shifting your eyes or get a broader view of what’s going on by turning your head. Although these mirrors are small and lightweight, they can make keeping your glasses in place a little bit of a challenge. 

Sam Benkoczy

Hi, I'm Sam. I own and maintain 6 e-bikes, 15 regular bikes (road bikes, folding bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes among others). I learned about bikes from my local bike mechanic as well as from bike maintenance courses. I love being out there in the saddle, and using my bike as a practical means of transportation. You can also find me on my YouTube channel at Say hi to me at

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