One of the great truisms of lawn mowing is that mowing backwards is not okay. Even so, mowing backwards continues to be popular, even when using a push mower. Despite being fully aware of the performance and safety concerns, consumers continue to want mowers that can handle mowing backwards and the market has mandated that manufacturers produce mowers that have this option. In fact, one of the more alarming safety statistics of lawn mowing is that roughly 1 child a day is knocked over by a mower going in reverse. Clearly, people continue to disregard the accepted wisdom and there is need to clarify the reasons why mowing in reverse is never a good idea.
Performance issues with mowing backwards
Simply, put, your mower will not perform as well when mowing in reverse. There are a number of reasons for this. One of the most immediately noticeable problems is that the grass will not get discharged underneath the deck. The cut is irregular, since mowing backwards means that the blades are running in reverse. It is easy to tell when someone has mowed some of their lawn in reverse, as the grass appears choppy and uneven. Furthermore, those of you who use reel mowers will find that the mower does not cut at all when mowing backwards.
Safety concerns with mowing backwards
The dominant safety concern that results when you mow backwards is that visibility is greatly compromised. When mowing backwards, you have to alter your line of vision, and it is easy to step into a pothole, or worse, collide into a young child. Obviously, this should never happen when mowing, so for the safety of yourself and those around you, mowing forwards is crucial. Additionally, even though most push mowers have a protective flap to protect your toes, if your mower does not you could really risk injuring your foot while mowing backwards. Riding mowers tend to have assorted protective devices to protect those who like to mow in reverse, but your visibility will still be sub-par when mowing backwards.
There really is no reason to be mowing backwards. Certainly, when you are mowing backwards you may be able to maneuver your way out of a tight spot, but most mowers are so adept at turning that you shouldn’t have any difficulty steering anyway. It simply isn’t worth the safety concerns to yourself and those around you. Lawn mowers are dangerous enough as it is, so there is no reason to compromise your safety and suffer the performance disadvantages of mowing backwards.