Does A Motorcycle Need Mirrors?



Every motorcycle sold around the world comes with mirrors fitted, but do you really need them? In this short article, we talk about the safety and legal aspects of motorcycle mirrors.

So, Does A Motorcycle Need Mirrors?

Yes. You compromise your safety if you don’t have mirrors on your motorcycle. Also, it is a legal requirement for your bike to have rearview mirrors fitted. 

So the answer is yes, you should have mirrors fitted to your motorcycle for safety and to avoid getting a ticket.

Should Your Motorcycle Have Mirrors?

For some, mirrors detract from the look of their motorcycle, so they take them off. Apart from being a legal requirement, mirrors help you ride safely, so removing them is not a great idea.

You need to use your motorcycle mirrors to keep an eye on the traffic behind. They give you situational awareness. Making a maneuver without looking behind you is a bad idea.

It seems relaxed when you are cruising along at 50 mph, and looking over your shoulder because you don’t have mirrors doesn’t feel like an issue. However, if you take just one second to look over your shoulder and take in the information, you have traveled 73 feet along the road while not looking where you are going!

Think about that for a second. 73 feet is quite a distance, and a lot can happen. With mirrors, you can briefly look at the situation behind you, but your peripheral vision is still looking forwards. Much safer!

We should all do lifesaver over-shoulder checks where necessary, but having mirrors on your motorcycle improves your awareness.

Do the Different States have Different Motorcycle Mirror Laws?

Yes, the motorcycle mirror requirements vary from state to state. Some specify just one mirror on the lefthand side, while others require a mirror on each side.

So far, so good, but some states have additional requirements. The type of mirror or the requirement to show a view of at least 200 feet behind is stipulated in some states.

Because of the variations, checking the rules before riding in another state is essential. Click this link to check motorcycle mirror regulations in US states.

State Penalties for not having Mirrors on Your Motorcycle

Just as the motorcycle mirror rules in each state vary, so do the penalties if you are caught not following them correctly.

Some states will simply give you a warning, others a fine, and in another, you may receive points on your license. 

What Types Of Motorcycle Mirrors Are Available?

Motorcycle manufacturers design and fit mirrors that suit the type of motorcycle. Large touring bikes may have mirrors built-in as part of the fairing. Street Fighter or Cafe Racer style bikes may have mirrors attached to the ends of the handlebars.

The most common type of mirror is probably those attached with a “stalk” on the handlebars or the fairing.

motorbike with stalk mirrors
A typical stalk mirror setup

Adjust Your Mirrors Properly

Having motorcycle mirrors fitted is one thing, but they will be useless unless you spend a bit of time adjusting them correctly. 

Getting the perfect mirror position can be difficult, particularly on sports bikes that have small mirrors with short stems. Spending a bit of time to get the best view possible will avoid just looking at your elbows when you glance in the mirror!

On some bikes, it’s just not possible to get a great view in your mirrors. You may need to pull your elbows in a little or extend the mirrors out on longer stalks if it’s really bad.

Final Views!

Mirrors are essential for safety, let alone protecting your wallet from a fine. Some people prefer the look of their bike without them, or argue that racing bikes don’t have mirrors, so why do I need them?

Ultimately, it’s a personal choice whether you risk it, but we highly recommend fitting and using motorcycle mirrors.