Insurers encouraging cyclists to have insurance

November 28, 2011
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Cyclists have been warned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) that they should get insurance. This is on the basis that cycling is a dangerous activity, which is fundamentally misconceived. In fact, it is more ‘dangerous’ to be a pedestrian than a cyclist. The majority of cycling accidents are also covered by some form of protection. For instance, if a cyclist is injured by an uninsured driver, or in a hit and run incident, they will be able to get compensation for their injury and financial losses by applying to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau. Alternatively, if an accident is caused by an insured driver, the injury and losses will be covered by their insurer.

Realistically, the only times such insurance would be useful is where a cyclist is injured in an accident caused by themselves, a pedestrian, or another cyclist, or where a cyclist causes an accident for which they are liable. However, an accident not involving a motor vehicle is unlikely to cause more than minor harm, and the risk of a cyclist causing someone else damage is relatively slender and the type of damage is also likely to be minor.

Now I am not saying that such insurance would never be useful – indeed, there are rare instances when having the insurance would pay off. However, my view is that encouraging cyclists to get accident insurance has the undesirable consequences of reinforcing the belief that cycling is dangerous and may discourage people from cycling. Perhaps I am being cynical, but I can’t help thinking that if more cyclists had insurance, it would be a natural progression for the ABI to lobby the Government to make cycle insurance a legal obligation. I am sure I am not the only cyclist who would meet this with strong opposition.


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