— Urban Transport
Building a better bicycle rear-view mirror
The Isoteko bicycle helmet mirror is designed to be unobtrusive and good-looking
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles resulted in the deaths of 618 cyclists in 2010 ... and that’s just in the United States. Regardless of who was at fault in those accidents, one thing is certain – urban cyclists are safer when they’re better able to keep tabs on the vehicles around them. While helmet-mounted mirrors are a great help in that regard, many cyclists don’t use them. That’s why Canadian entrepreneurs Greg Maxwell and Richard Seck invented the Isoteko mirror.
A lot of cyclists don’t like helmet mirrors either because they get in the way, or because they’re ... well, dorky-looking. The Isoteko is intended to address both of those shortcomings.
Made from laser cut and machined aluminum, the mirror was designed to be “a functional piece of art for your helmet.” Needless to say, individual users’ opinions will vary on its aesthetic appeal, but it does definitely have a certain sleek look of its own.
Additionally, it easily flips back when not in use. This is handy for users who don’t want to prop their helmet on the mirror when they put it down, or who have to cram it into a small storage space. It’s also useful for mountain bikers who commute to the trailhead on shared roads, but don’t want a mirror in their face once they hit the trails.
The Isoteko can reportedly be installed on any helmet. It can be set in approximately the right position by swiveling and tightening its arm, although the mirror itself can also be micro-adjusted within its housing, to fine-tune the viewing angle. It’s also designed to be repairable, with a website in the works where owners can order replacement parts.
Maxwell and Seck are currently raising production funds for the Isoteko, on the Indiegogo website. A pledge of US$70 will get you one, when and if the funding goal is reached.
The mirror can be seen in use in the video below.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
I don't mind the dorkiness of helmet mirrors enough to pay $70 for a new one. I also have concerns about the safety of a metal mirror in a crash.
I have used every kind of small bicycle mirror, including helmet, frame and bar mounted.
They all suffer from the same problem in that you have to line up your head and the mirror and the field of view to see anything. It is a serious distraction from the far more important task of looking where you are going.
A large motorcyle mirror may be more effective but such large mirros don't really have a place on a bicycle.
The Isoteko mirror may be a piece of art but it will be useless if it does not solve the fundamental problem of providing a clear, easily accessible view behind without distracting from looking ahead.
Mirrors make cyclists complacent - a quick glance in the mirror rather than a proper over-the-shoulder check. The problem with a quick glance in the mirror is that the small mirror's large blind spots are easily big enough to hide a car, motorbike or another cyclist.
I'm sure it'll sell, but it won't make cycling any safer.
Like the side view mirror on a car, my end-of-handlebar mirror works very very well. I can adjust it on the fly with a flick of my hand and move my head left or right just a little to give a wider angle of view. It has survived being laid down on the sand/grass/pavement and has never failed to alert me that I'm being passed by skinny wonks on 14-lb racers (and trucks with mirrors so big you'd swear they were designed to take out cyclists).
Although this product looks great, I don't want anything on my helmet and, to be sure, I don't want to have to point my head the opposite direction of the rear view that I'd like at the moment...no offense.
If you are already wearing a bicycle helmet you have pretty much maxed out the dorkiness factor. (I always wear a helmet, so I'll continue to use my $3 mirror.)
If u need to be told how important a helmet and mirror for bike riding is then u're really skating on thin ice!
Noth items are not going to immune u from any accident, but without is going to make it more difficult for u though.
start from the helmet, riding in vancouver bc, I see 30-50% folks riding without helmet and u know any spill fall will mean severe disability to seeing St. Peters at the pearl gate.
Bike mounted mirrors often vibrate too much for easy use, and are vulnerable to breaking. I've broken many in my day. For a terrific mirror that is already on the market, the SafeZone mirror developed by a bike mechanic in Portland. When my friends have seen it on my helmet, they all wanted one. http://www.safezonemirror.com/about/
The idea that a bike helmet decreases safety by increasing complacency on a bike is not one that matches up with my thousands of miles of riding. Not sure where that idea came from. A quick glance over the shoulder also takes your eyes off the road, and causes problems there. If the mirror is good enough and big enough, taking your eyes off the road to look back is much reduced and safety is enhanced. Watch a cyclist looking over his shoulder and you will also see his bike wobble or change course during the act.
They made the mirror bigger and dorkier and more expensive. I do like the slots though.
Actually surprised that no one has put together a CCD camera with a LCD display for use on a bicycle helmet. This is already commonplace for backup cameras for motor vehicles and complete kits sell for under $50.
With a rear viewing camera the rider would have a 180 degree view of anything approaching from behind. It would not be great with the sun directly behind the rider but then neither are mirrors in that situation.
Try Backtracker as an alternative to a mirror.
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