According to a story today on Onlyfinance.com the nation's cycle commuters are all doomed! DOOMED! I TELL YOU! Alright maybe it's not that apocalyptic but we are all sitting on a “Compensation timebomb”. Mind you that warning does seem to come from James Pickering, chief Exective of Cycleguard – a bike insurance provider. The gist of the argument is that there's been massive rise in the number of commuting cyclists, particularly in London, and a subsequent rise in the number of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians which must mean a possible increase in levels of third party claims against cyclists. Possibly. Speaking to Onlyfinance.com James Pickering, Managing Director of Cycleguard, said: "Most cyclists don't give third-party insurance any thought. Cycling is safe and healthy, but it's dangerous to ignore the threat of legal action in the event of an accident. Although some household insurance policies offer a degree of third-party cover, many exclude road traffic accidents." Cycleguard also encouraged bicycle riders to think about taking out personal liability insurance, which can help them financially, should they need to pay for legal fees or with compensation claims. Mr Pickering added: "You wouldn't dream of getting in a car without some sort of insurance in case you get badly injured, so why people think this is any different for cyclists is beyond me." Well one reason might be that the chances of being badly injured on a bike are actually quite small – cycling is one of the safest pastimes there is with a death rate on a par (excuse the pun) with golf. And conversely the more people that cycle the safer it gets. While the numbers of people injured by cyclists might be rising, might, if it is it is doing so from a tiny base. The numbers of people killed by cyclists in the UK is also small, the average is less than one death a year, you are about as likely to be killed by a skateboard. Compulsory insurance for cyclists would therefore be a nice little earner for the insurance industry – particularly as the premiums currently being charged, although they appear low when you think about the risk to the insurer of actually having to pay out on them, compared to, say, motor insurance, might actually be quite high. One other point the insurance industry don't address: if cycling is so dangerous, and if such a tiny proportion of today's cyclists have third party cover – why aren't we already hearing loads of stories about cyclists being sued? If you've got a valuable bike, making sure it is covered by insurance seems a bit of a no-brainer, and equally some sort of third party cover is probably a good idea for everyone not just cyclists, but it has got to be at a price the reflects the actual risk of a claim. If you are in the market for insurance Cycleguard's Roadcare policy offers third party cover and a measure of personal injury cover for £26 per year which in the current market is not a bad deal. Insurance is also an integral part of both British Cycling's and CTC's membership package. Gold membership of BC includes a full racing licence, loads of other benefits, third party cover, legal advice, and personal injury cover – senior Gold membership costs £62, there's a family Gold package for £134. Everyday Cycling (British Cycling's offshoot for non-competitive cyclists) offers membership for £2 a month which amongst other benefits includes £10 million of third party cover and legal advice should you have an accident. All CTC members are covered by £10 million third party insurance and 24 hour legal advice. Standard membership is £35, family membership £57.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.