Accident and liability insurance is one of those things many people have and hope they never have to use. However, many cyclists in the United States are actually not covered when on their bicycle, and in the event of an accident can find themselves facing high medical bills.
Better World Club and Gales Creek Insurance Services of Portland, Oregon, announced a new partnership that can bring accordable accident and liability insurance to bicyclists. And much like auto insurance, this also offers an option for roadside assistance program.
The BIKEon provides accident insurance for riders, providing up to $100,000 to reimburse for bills, and a liability payment of up to $1 million for each occurrence in the event of an accident that is even caused by the rider and results in injuries to other people or damage to property.
“This is not to cover high-end ‘Gucci bikes’,” said Jeffrey Lang, R&D chief of Gales Creek Insurance Services. “This is a group policy and is sold to groups. This is a pooling mechanism to keep the insurance costs down.”
The challenge has thus far been to make it affordable, Lang told BikeRadar.
At present the BIKEon Accident and Liability Insurance policy is included in the $39.95 bicycle roadside assistance program to members, and is available with or without Better World Club’s auto club membership. It is aimed at cyclists who ride road bikes, mountain bikes or electric bikes on public roads or shared paths.
“Because there's been such an increase in the number of cyclists on the roads, there’s also a higher chance that they'll get into an accident and incur huge medical bills or be sued. As a result, we keep getting more and more calls asking for insurance coverage to cover cyclists comparable to the benefits drivers enjoy,” said Mitch Rofsky, president of Better World Club. “GCIS’s accident and liability insurance coverage gives riders peace of mind in knowing that their expenses will be taken care of in the event of an accident, and that they are not taking a financial risk by getting out of their cars and onto their bikes.”
This program, which Lang helped develop has been in the works for 14 years, and he hopes this could give peace of mind when it is needed most, namely after an accident.
“Every day there are unfortunately individuals in cities around the country who are severely injured while riding a bike,” said Lang. “And this is all too commonly caused by an unissued motorist who runs over a cyclists. The rider now faces high medical bills just because he or she was riding a bike.”
Thus this is an accident policy, not a form of health insurance for riders. And that distinction is an important one.
“It is an accident policy,” said Lang. “It is to pay for medical bills and things that might not be covered by traditional health insurance, much the way auto insurance would cover an individual in an accident.”
The concept said Lang is to put the cyclists on equal footing with drivers.
“We don’t want to see cyclists penalized for riding a bike and not driving in car,” he stressed. “They shouldn’t be punished for not wrecking the atmosphere!”