The UK's Institute of Advanced Motorists has traditionally focussed on encouraging good driving. Now it's hoping to spread the same message in the world of cycling, with the launch of a new membership deal.
The £15 IAM Cycling package bundles together accident (not theft) insurance, a booklet on riding principles, newsletters and discounts. Duncan Pickering, the organisation's cycling development manager, said the aim was to "raise the bar of cycling standards across the board".
"Cycling enthusiasts are clearly skilled in negotiating the many hazards on the UK’s roads," he said. "However, a large number of cyclists haven't had any formal training, which puts them at greater risk. A lot of incidents on our roads are due to hesitation and uncertainty." The package includes a copy of How to be a Better Cyclist by John Franklin (also available separately for £9.99), which champions the idea of cyclists taking up a primary position on the road.
“The aim is to highlight a cyclist’s right to ‘claim their lane’ and, where safe and appropriate, to assert themselves [by] pushing out further into the lane and making themselves visible to drivers," said Pickering. “Mastering a more assertive and informed style of cycling is definitely something we believe keeps cyclists and motorists safer on our roads.”
The insurance element of the package (also available separately for £9) covers your whole family (ie. partner and/or children) and provides for local repair (or new-for-old replacement if your bike is written off), private physio treatment and legal expenses in the event of an accident where fault is disputed.
IAM, which has 100,000 members, is best known for its Advanced Driving Test, which was introduced in 1956 to improve driving standards after it was discovered that human error was to blame for the majority of car crashes. Bosses hope the new package can effect a similar change among cyclists.
Cycle accident insurance is a tool also used by other organisations to attract new members, notably UK cyclists' organisation the CTC and the Environmental Transport Association (ETA). CTC membership (£37 for full adult membership) comes with automatic third party insurance, a bi-monthly magazine and discount offers.
ETA provide a Cycle Rescue service free with their cycle insurance. This is available after an accident, theft, vandalism or irreparable breakdown of your bike. They say they'll take you and your bike to either a railway station or a bike shop – or home or to alternative accommodation if either of these is nearer. Prices start at around £17 a year.