Almost two thirds of people believe cyclists should be required to have third-party liability insurance, according to a new survey.
Unsurprisingly, the sentiment is much stronger among motorists, 68 per cent of whom told YouGov that they support the idea, than it is among commuting cyclists, just 33 per cent of whom agreed, reports the local news website, swlondoner.co.uk.
Across the sample as a whole, 64 per cent said that cover should be compulsory, while occasional cyclists – those who ride at least once a month – were split down the middle, with 42 per cent in favour and 41 per cent opposed.
Tim Lennon, borough co-ordinator at the Richmond Cycling Campaign, told the website: “It would just be another barrier to people getting on a bike, and since cycling is really no more dangerous than walking, it would simply be a way to discourage cycling.”
Among motorists, only 18 per cent thought that it was a bad idea to make insurance mandatory for cyclists, versus 50 per cent of cycle commuters.
Leaving aside the issue that users of mechanically-propelled vehicles are required to take out third party insurance by law because of their propensity to do harm to others, the survey reflects the widely-held fallacy that cyclists are not covered for their potential legal liability to third parties.
Most bike riders, of course, are insured for that risk – whether through bespoke cycle insurance, their membership of British Cycling or affiliated clubs or organisations such as Cycling UK, or through their own household insurance.
And users of hire schemes such as London’s Santander Cycles are also automatically covered when they take one of their bikes.
The perception, however, that we are not will doubtless remain another stick for many motorists to beat us with.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.