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Rear View Mirrors

A word of safety advise for all riding RAGBRAI, get a rear view mirror and check it before moving left to make sure it’s clear. You won’t drive a car without a mirror and checking it before switching lanes of travel on a freeway. So why do it on a bike? I have one of those geeky little ones on my sun glasses but better geek then getting in a crash.

Mirrors beat trying to crank your neck around to check, especially for those of us who are older and less flexible.

21 Replies

Brian Wallenburg, August 22, 2016 at 4:51 pm

I’d say the answer is a simple one. We can make as many “rules” as we like, but riding RAGBRAI, it is quite obvious that we cannot enforce a single one. There are many, many riders; each one having a style of their own. At the end of the day, it is up to each individual rider to ride right. This past year I witnessed a RAGBRAI Ride Right ambassador riding wrong! If they can’t even get it right, how is everyone else supposed to? Be courteous and more importantly patient. Also, safe to say that those riding with a disability are probably riding safer than, and more aware than the rest of us. When one sense is taken out of the equation, all others are heightened!


T. Gap Woo, August 23, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Good afternoon, TJ. I trust that you have been monitoring this thread due to the serious safety issues raised.

KenH has made some extremely valuable suggestions, all of which merit consideration by your Ride Right group. Might I make a suggestion that will give the Ride Right committee a winter research project?

Contact groups that serve the hearing-impaired community and seek their input. They may already have guidelines, rules, suggestions, etc in place that address the very issue of rider safety, but the rest of the riding world may not be aware of them. The National Association of the Deaf [www (dot) nad (dot) org] and the National Association of State Agencies of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing [www (dot) nasadhh (dot) org] are good resources to investigate. Galludet University [www (dot) galludet (dot) edu] is another source of information. Combine their input with that from local bicycle clubs, coalitions and your other sources to develop new Ride Right rules that address the issue of hard-of-hearing riders.

There are only 333 days until RAGBRAI 45, but time has a way of flying by too fast. I hope revisions to the Ride Right rules can be in place well before then. Thanks for looking out for the safety of ALL riders!

See you along the I-O-Way next year.


Luv 2 Ski, September 7, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Not sure how you could get everyone on the same page regarding the rules of the road during RAGBRAI. To many people, to many different riding styles, and some that just do not have a clue(and never will).

As for mirrors I always ride with one of the “Third Eye” mirrors and it works well. When I go ride with the local hammer heads I am sure they think of me as the dorky guy but I feel vulnerable when I do not have it on. On the tandem’s I have the small bar end mirrors and the stokers say they work well also.


trknight, October 21, 2016 at 12:04 pm

My mirror of choice is the Rearviz, which you strap on somewhere etween your wrist and elbow. You can flip it out and rotate it to a position for desired viewing. I find it has district advantages over bicycle mounted or sunglasses/helmet mounted mirrors. The mirror, being convex, gives a broader display area, being one.

After one of the people in my local cycling group was killed from being hit from behind by a vehicle last spring, I also invested in the Garmin Varia radar detector/rear bicycle light. It detects differences in speed from vehicles approaching from behind at significantly higher speed, sending a signal to a compatible unit (bike computer/detection monitor) and also intensifies in flash as the vehicle approaches. It will detect an approaching vehicle from about 150 yards away which, if it is going 60 mph, gives you about 5 seconds to react. A beep will sound from my bike computer and a dot will form in the side of the screen and moves forward as the vehicle approaches. It will also detect multiple vehicles. And with the mirror, I can verify if the approaching vehicle has moved over to a safe passing distance.

From a safety perspective, I highly recommend the combination of the two.

The Varia isn’t cheap, retailing for ~$200, requires a compatible bike computer or head unit ($100) but like, after some Facebook discussion between people in our group on this technology, the widow of the slain cyclist said “that’s cheap”!


wrj, October 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm

I use a glasses mount rear view mirror. I ride on aero bars a lot, but not so much during Ragbrai because of the crowds. I also use a second mirror that mounts on the head tube believe it or not. Instead of cranking my head up from aero, I look down at the head tube mirror to check traffic behind. The view is between my inside left leg and the top tube. Sounds odd but it works for me. My neck is happier. I ride low use country roads. When a vehicle comes along, I see it first with the head tube mirror. Then if I wish, I can sit up until the vehicle passes by.


KenH, October 24, 2016 at 7:47 am

gringonick: Some of the riders coming up from behind on my left would say my name (on my RAGBRAI license plate) or say: “On your left Colombia” when I was wearing my Colombia jersey.

That is an excellent practice to adopt if we are going to continue to use “on you left”! Now that you mention it I can recall a few people doing this as they passed me too. Of course if you are about to go flying past me at a high relative speed then by the time you can read my name it is too late for your warning to have any effect on the outcome of your attempt to pass….

I have a mirror and I use it a lot but I am still constantly surprised by people who appear on my left or right shortly after I have just checked and verified that no one is there or could be there any time soon. They are members of the Weaver family, they weave through traffic as fast as they can through the smallest of gaps. You will never see them coming.


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