Are motorcycle mirrors a legal requirement in the UK?
The short answer here is no. The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations of 1986 mandate that there is no legal requirement to put mirrors on your motorcycle.
Whether you ride with one, both, none, or an additional mirror to make three – you’re not breaking the law. That is not to say it’s advisable to ride without mirrors. Nor does it offer any advantage.
Why You Should Use Two Mirrors Anyway
Turning your head to see what’s happening behind you on a bike is never a great idea. And it’s only a matter of time before not knowing what’s going on behind you creates problems – either directly for you or for other road users.
People tend to steer towards the point they’re looking at. Swinging your weight around at the upper body/shoulders to look backwards in combination with this tendency can make looking behind on a moving bike sketchy.
Most people swerve – especially in high-stress situations. Inexperienced riders are more likely to make this mistake.
Convenience And Unwanted Attention
Aside from the obvious safety concern, here’s our top pick why you should use mirrors. Unless you’re on a genuine motocross bike (that’s also road legal), wearing the appropriate gear, and a close to well-known trail – police may stop you anyway!
Not all of them know the legal requirements regarding mirrors (we’ve encountered this in various countries to be fair – this is not just a UK issue).
Anything that draws attention from the authorities is best avoided.
If the officer who pulls you over doesn’t know the law and is subsequently made to look foolish, it’s not an ideal situation for you. They may rigorously inspect every other aspect of your machine where they wouldn’t have otherwise noticed your existence.
The Legitimate Reason For No Mirrors
Off-road riders are living in the country without a trailer and chock sometimes don’t use mirrors.
Typically this category of rider spends only the time required to get to their trail spots and prefer to leave mirrors off their machines as a cost-saving measure. Mirrors are the most likely thing to get bashed around when off-roading and can’t really be protected by aftermarket solutions like handguards, engine covers, or crash bobbins.
Options For Older Bikes Or Enduro
For classic bikes from the pre-wing mirror era, a range of soft-jawed, clamp-on options that don’t require any modification of your original handlebars are available. Some flexible arm options might suit enduro riders who don’t want the hassle of constantly breaking and replacing mirrors.
The law says you don’t need mirrors. Common sense, statistics, and the people at Begin Motorcycling say you absolutely do. Be safe.