Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Australians look to get cycle insurance in wake of $1.7m payout

Canberra cycling group has seen a 15 per cent rise in insurance applications since judgement

ABC reports a marked rise in the number of Australian cyclists taking out insurance in the Canberra area. It is thought to be a response to a recent case where a local cyclist was ordered to pay $1.66m in damages plus legal costs following a 2009 cycling incident which resulted in his friend sustaining spinal injuries after being run over by a car.

Canberra cycling group, Pedal Power ACT, say they have seen a 15 per cent rise in new applicants for the cycling insurance that they offer since the judgement. Their policy, which comes automatically with membership of the group, covers public liability for up to $20m and as they say themselves:

“This would normally cover the Mercedes that you might have accidently scratched – but in the most recent case would have covered the $1.7 million public liability payout identified in the Supreme Court decision.”

Earlier this month, we reported how David Blick and Michael Franklin were cycling alongside each other in a bike lane when Blick hit a wooden tree stake and veered into Franklin, throwing him into the road. Franklin was run over by a car and spent 28 days in hospital having pins and screws put into his pelvis and the base of his spine.

Franklin has only been able to return to work part-time. After initially pursuing the driver of the vehicle which ran over him through a third party insurance claim, he eventually sued Blick for negligence, concluding that a claim against the driver was unlikely to prove successful if it was shown the person had not been negligent.

Justice John Burns said he was “satisfied that if the defendant had exercised reasonable care he would have seen and avoided the piece of wood” and therefore ordered Blick to pay Franklin damages of $1.66 million as well as legal costs – a figure taking into account Franklin's loss of future earnings. In this case, the money came from a home insurance policy.

While it’s common to think of cycle insurance purely in terms of theft, it’s clear that there are other risks as well. Like Pedal Power ACT, UK organisations like British Cycling and CTC offer insurance as part of a membership package. Responding to the case, Roger Geffen, the campaigns and policy director at CTC, said:

“Normal cycling is not an especially high-risk activity, and cases like this are newsworthy exactly because they are extremely rare. However CTC would advise anyone who cycles regularly to make sure they are covered for the risks of causing serious injury to other road users, or damage to other vehicles. This is one of the benefits of joining an organisation like CTC – as well as being able to support our local and national campaigning to promote cycling and cyclists’ safety.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

Add new comment


Paul J | 9 years ago

Thoroughly recommend getting 3rd party coverage for cycling. E.g. via British Cycling membership. I managed to run into a car earlier this year. My brake shifter got pushed round a bit on the bar, and I had a slight bruise on my face. The car however had a broken rear light panel, but several dented panels. Luckily British Cycling's insurance and legal cover sorted it all out for me. Otherwise I'd have been on the hook for a good chunk of money, at a time I couldn't have afforded it.

British Cycling Ride membership legal & insurance cover +1000!

racyrich | 9 years ago

The BC insurance always used to have a 'mutual endeavours' exclusion - ie you couldn't claim against other people on the clubrun. That would have applied here.
Suing murderers - good luck. No insurance covers deliberate acts of malice, so you'll be suing for their actual belongings.

Avatar | 9 years ago

Any Australians reading this should also look to see what their home contents insurance policy covers. Mine covers me in cases like this, anywhere in the world.

Indeed for a similar price as I was paying my previous insurer I've now got a contents policy which additionally covers me for damage to, or loss of, any of my bikes, anywhere in the world, including when racing. And I don't even have to nominate the bikes unless they are over A$10K.

The nominal cost (over and above what I'd be paying for contents insurance anyway) is essentially $0. Much cheaper, and better coverage, than any bike-specific insurance that I'm aware of.

adscrim | 9 years ago

The defence council in the above Edinburgh case raised the interesting point of stopping distances. We buzz along a few inches from the wheel in front of us so must surely take responsibility for the lack of stopping distance. Without knowing the full details of the trial it's easy to jump to the conclusion that for one rider to be negligent in not avoiding the piece of wood, the other was negligent for being so close that he couldn't avoid an obstruction thrown up by the vehicle in front.

STATO | 9 years ago

Interesting CTC comment

"this is one of the benefits of joining an organisation like CTC"

However their own terms or a bit ambiguous, "CTC members are automatically covered up to £10 million by this policy" however later they state

"People who ride at one of our MTB bike parks, such as Aston Hill, can take out CTC membership which will cover them for any injury or damage they cause to third parties (but not fellow trail users or family members)."

So I wonder, since they are excluding cycling at MTB parks (and it doesnt cover you against other riders of those parks even if you pay extra), does their standard insurance cover you if you injure a fellow club cyclist, or another competitor in the ever popular sportives?

kcr | 9 years ago

Similar case arising from a group ride incident in the UK:

HarryCallahan | 9 years ago

People guilty of criminal homicide usually don't pay anything. Because we don't bother sueing? Because they usually don't have any money? Not sure, but seems a rather crazy discrepancy.

Latest Comments