It's hard to imagine a more vulnerable transportation scenario than being a cyclist on a busy city street. You don't have a motor; your breaks can cause great injury if pumped too quickly; and let's face it, a bike's not the sturdiest invention of all time. That's why you take precautions, such as wearing a helmet and other protective gear as needed.
But what about bike mirrors? After all, cars have them, trucks have them, boats have them. Why not bikes? Truth be told, a bike mirror is generally not mandated by state law, meaning that it is not illegal to ride without one. However, they can play a crucial role in ensuring a rider's safety.
"So can't I just turn my head?"
In theory, field of vision shouldn't be much of a problem if you're riding your bike. "After all," you reason, "can't I just turn my head and look behind me?" In theory. In reality, however, that doesn't always hold true. If the weather is cold or windy, it can become increasingly difficult to turn one's head from side to side while riding. Similarly, this can also be difficult if there is a solar glare (the sun's in your eyes), or if you're wearing a restrictive piece of clothing, such as a hooded sweatshirt.
"But what if I can turn my head with no problem?"
Still not quite safe enough. For instance, if you are riding on a street that requires you to signal and/or make directional changes, or to remain familiar with cars and/or other bikes doing the same, it is impossible to be completely aware of your surroundings. A bike mirror lends you the closest likeness to having eyes in the back of your head; you can keep your eyes focuses in front of you (which is where they should always be when cycling), but also catch approaching objects using your peripheral vision. Pretty simple, eh?
"Okay, so I'll get some mirrors…but where should I put them?"
There are a few different options.
The most obvious would be the handle-bar mirror. Placed right where you'd think, two of these would function the same as side mirrors on a car or motorcycle.
You can also get a helmet mirror; this can be mounted on your helmet, with the actual mirrors positioned off to the side. By turning your head 10 to 20 degrees, you can achieve a full 360-degree sweep of your surrounding area. The main downside with these mirrors is that, to be quite frank, you could look like something of a lunatic to those unfamiliar with the devices. Not to mention how easy it is to break the mirrors when removing your helmet.
If you're truly set on wearing your mirrors on the ole noggin, eyeglass/sunglass mirrors could be a better choice for you. These can be worn similar to a helmet mirror, with the attachment extending from the main frame, but are easier to store and less conspicuous. But either way, safety first.
It doesn't take a mechanical whiz to learn how to make a motorized bike. In fact, many home mechanics can do it in their garage with ease.
If you know how to build a bike rack, you might end up saving yourself a bundle of money.
Before the 1970's a safety standard for bicycle helmets did not exist. If riders even decided to wear a helmet, their choices were limited.
As an avid bike rider and a curious person by nature I had wondered when and how the bike helmet came to be.