It's a Lovely Day For a Bike Ride - But Are You Insured?
- AuthorRebecca Bennett
After a long winter, the first few sunny days of spring often mark a sudden increase in the number of cyclists out on the roads. Whilst brakes, tyres and chains are diligently checked, often one of the most important considerations, insurance, can be overlooked in our hurry to get back out on the road.
Why is cycling insurance important?
I’ve written previously about steps you can take to stay safe on two wheels (see my blog here).
Unfortunately, no matter the number of steps we take, we can’t always avoid accidents and last year the Government published statistics indicating that in 2016 18,477 cyclists in the UK were injured in road accidents reported to the police, including 3,499 cyclists who were killed or seriously injured. It was thought, with the number of unreported accidents, the actual figures for injured cyclists could in fact be significantly higher.
Cyclists aren’t required to have insurance, but given the risk of being involved in an accident, it is certainly a worthwhile consideration.
What is covered?
Depending on the type of insurance and level of cover, insurance may cover damage to your bike and equipment as well as rider insurance, covering personal injury, disablement and loss of earnings.
Whilst we as cyclists often share scare stories of accidents caused by drivers and other road users, there are of course plenty of occasions when the cyclist is at fault and may cause damage to others or their property. Generally, an insurance policy will also cover you for public liability; which would protect you if you caused an accident resulting in injury to someone else.
It is important to consider your insurance carefully and to make sure that you have adequate cover for your intended use, whether that be a Sunday spin with your local cycling club, to racing a Time Trial or competing in an Ironman triathlon.
If you are a member of an organisation such as British Triathlon, Welsh Triathlon or British Cycling, public liability insurance may come as part of your membership. It is worth checking this carefully to ensure its breadth and be mindful that it most likely will not cover you abroad.
What if I have a crash that wasn’t my fault?
For teenage and adult cyclists, accidents are most likely to involve collisions with motor vehicles. Unsurprisingly, in a collision between a car and a cyclist, it will invariably be the cyclist who is going to come off worst.
In the UK, it is a legal requirement for all drivers to hold third party liability insurance. Therefore, if a cyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, and the vehicle driver was at fault, it is the driver’s insurance that will pay out.
It is important that, if a cyclist is involved in an accident, particularly if they are seriously injured as a result, that they seek appropriate advice from a specialist solicitor experienced in dealing with claims involving significant injuries. As well as considering the immediate effects of the injury, it is important that future prognosis and the need for further treatment or therapy is also considered and taken into account.
What about help to get me back on the road after an accident?
In some instances, your Solicitor could be able to secure you immediate access to physiotherapy and other alternative therapies to aid quick recovery, especially if you are a competitive athlete and this is vital to getting you training and racing again as soon as possible.
When fault has been admitted, interim payments could be arranged to help pay for this treatment with the right experts you know and trust.
What about insurance abroad?
With the lure of sunshine, iconic climbs and (most importantly!) particularly good coffee stops, cycling holidays abroad, whether it be training or racing, are becoming increasingly popular.
However, if you are unlucky enough to have an accident abroad there can be a raft of additional costs which you are suddenly faced with.
Standard travel insurance may not cover you for certain activities, such as competing abroad, and so it is worthwhile checking with your travel insurance provider to see if your planned activities are covered and, if not, upgrading your travel policy or taking out an additional insurance policy to cover you for your intended activities so that you can enjoy cycling in the sunshine worry free!
Whilst cycling is one of the healthiest activities you can adopt, it isn’t without risk, and JCP has helped a number of clients who have had serious accidents on two wheels due to the fault of another road user. Rebecca Bennett is an Associate Solicitor from our Injury Services Team and a seasoned, podium winning triathlete. Rebecca won her age group at Ironman Wales 2017 and qualified for the 2018 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
For more information contact Rebecca on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01792 529 667.