I am interested in filtering and whether the height of my handlebar should be changed to be in a zone that most cars, motorbikes and vans are not allowed to be.

It feels like I have succeeded in this. But, to my amazement, I have not been able to find some such standard on the internet.

Does indeed some rule exist that constraints cars/motorbikes/vans to use only specific mirror heights?

  • 12
    You are driving way too close if you have to worry about your handlebars colliding with mirrors.
    – Michael
    May 25 at 13:16
  • 2
    I am not aware of such rules. and if i compare my Mazda MX-5 to some SUVs, pickups and larger vehicles, it seems there isn't. Particularly not in the height range above ground that would fit your purposes. Plus, what @Michael said.
    – Burki
    May 25 at 13:35
  • 1
    What is "filtering" when it relates to biking and how does it impact handlebar height?
    – FreeMan
    May 25 at 15:13
  • 4
    @FreeMan it means riding between lanes of (stationary or very slow) traffic. It seems like a motorcycling term that's been adopted for cycling. Drivers don't always expect it even where it's explicitly legal, so it requires a lot of care. Also called lane splitting
    – Chris H
    May 25 at 15:23
  • 5
    Thanks, @ChrisH. Sounds like a great way to end up dead. I'll just take my position in the line of traffic and wait patiently.
    – FreeMan
    May 25 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


Based on this article from the Code of Federal Regulations, mirror standards for vehicles are more concerned with their function - how much a driver can see - rather than exactly where they are mounted.

Purpose. The purpose of this standard is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur when the driver of a motor vehicle does not have a clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the rear.

The regulation does say "The mirror and mounting shall be free of sharp points or edges that could contribute to pedestrian injury." so at least it bans sharp points or edges.

This is a U.S. only regulation. You'll need to search for similar regulations for the country in which you live.

Most handlebar height adjustment is done to maximize the fit of the bike for the rider and side mirrors are one of many obstacles that must be avoided.


The European regulations (PDF, probably not the latest version) go into considerable detail on mirrors, but there's not much on positioning except to obtain the field of view.

What there is, is a maximum distance they can protrude from the width of the car (at the otherwise-widest point, not at the height of the mirrors), for most vehicles excluding those with very high mounted mirrors (lorries, some coaches).

Where the lower edge of an exterior rear-view mirror is less than 2 m above the ground when the vehicle is loaded to its maximum permissible all-up weight, this rear-view mirror must not project more than 0,20 m beyond the overall width of the vehicle measured without rear-view mirrors.

In practice, van mirrors are level with my upper arm, some sports car mirrors below my bars, but many car mirrors at handlebar height (and on my range of bikes I have a range of bar heights). When filtering through crawling traffic, I want plenty of room to react if drivers jerk the wheel for any reason - so the clearance isn't really an issue. When filtering through stationary traffic I'm going really slowly as people open car doors when stuck in traffic, or do other dumb things; pedestrians can also pop out from between vehicles. So tiny clearance is adequate, putting feet down and almost stopping if necessary. I'm usually more concerned about my pannier(s) as they can be wider than my bars and I can't see them while looking forwards. But my biggest concern is the traffic suddenly starting to move, perhaps because traffic lights change

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