According to a survey by British Social Attitudes, over 2.7 million people aged 18+ are riding a bike once a week with 1.9 million people riding every day, or nearly every day! The UK has also seen the rise of the MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra), with more and more people taking to decathlons, triathlons and generals cycling groups. This means there are lot of us taking to the two-wheeled method of transport rather than driving a car, or using public transport. Although it’s great to see that more people are choosing the healthier option, cycling does come with its risks and the big question is… should I have insurance for my bike? In this article we highlight the risks, costs and reasons you may want to consider getting covered when cycling on the roads.
What preparations can I make?
As you know cycling comes with its own risks, pedalling on the same surface as motor vehicles and having to use arm signals to indicate takes a lot of concentration and respect from other roads users. Now we don’t want to put you off using your bike because we encourage cycling, however it’s best to understand the risks and remember what you can do to reduce the chances of an accident.
When out on your bike, it’s important that you are visible to other road users, even in the summer months. The evenings may be lighter, but it doesn’t mean drivers will see you. Look at investing in bright cycling clothing including a helmet! Also ensure you have working lights for when the evenings and morning get darker. Remember white lights for the front, red for the back!
Prepare your bike
A common problem cyclists may face when they are out and about may be tyre punctures, faulty breaks or incorrect adjustments. Before you set off ensure your tyres have enough air in them, you can find out the advised pressure on the side of the tyre. Also remember to test your brakes before you go anywhere, the last thing you would want is to come to a junction and find out your brakes are faulty! Finally ensure your bike seat is the correct height for you and the handle bars are in the right position – offset bars can affect your balance and steering.
Plan your route
An important part of cycling is knowing your route, especially if you are planning to go to a new place or when covering a long distance. Like any journey knowing where you’re going will make travelling easier. It may be worth looking to avoid major roads where possible to reduce the chances of an accident. If there’s a quieter route, use it!
Record your journeys
Nowadays more drivers are opting to having a dashcam installed to their cars. Recording journeys just in case an accident occurs is becoming a common trend and there is no reason why cyclists shouldn’t do the same. The initial investment may be expensive but it could save you hassle when trying to prove who was at fault should an accident occur. You can now purchase cameras for your helmet which can record while you cycle.
Although cycling to a party or pub seems like a good idea, you could be breaking the law. The 1998 Road Traffic Act states, ‘a person who, when riding a cycle on a road or other public place, is unfit to ride through drink or drugs (that is to say, being under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle) is guilty of an offence.’ Therefore, just like driving… it’s not worth the risk!
Why would I need insurance?
So now you know what you can do to reduce the risks of an accident occurring but unfortunately there is only so much planning and preparation you can do and there is always a risk of something happening. If the worst was to happen and you were to be involved in an accident, would you and your bike be covered? Insurance for your bike could provide cover against theft and damage of your bike and injury to yourself as the cyclist. Certain insurance policies may also include public liability, which protects you against claims that are made against you if you were involved in an incident. While it’s not the law to have insurance in place for your bike, it is worth thinking about just in case! We have highlighted some more benefits of having insurance in place below:
Cover your costs
If you’ve ever purchased a bike or are looking to buy a new one, you will know how expensive they can be. By the time you have purchased the bike and all the accessories such as lights, helmet and clothing etc. you may well have paid a small fortune. If your bike was stolen or damaged, the question to ask yourself is, ‘would I be able to afford to replace the bike or have it repaired?’. If the answer is no, then you may want to think about getting some insurance in place. There are a few ways you can purchase insurance for your bike:
Consider your home insurance
You may have thought about this already, and in which case you may have got cover sorted but if you haven’t, your home insurance should be the first solution to consider. If you already have a home insurance policy, cover for your bikes may be included within the policy. You will be able to find this information in your policy documents. Budget Insurance customers can access this on our Self Service Centre. If you’re unable to access your documents, it may be worth giving your insurer a call to ask if your bikes are covered.
Insure your bike separately
If you would prefer to take out insurance for your bike separately, you can purchase a stand-alone policy. There are many different insurers that will provide you with a quote. It’s important to check what cover is being provided and understand the exclusions to ensure you are covered for what you need.
Benefits of riding a bike
If you’re not sure about where you can utilise your bike, don’t fear we have come up with some reasons to bike and where you can ditch the petrol for the pedal.
It’s good for your health
Did you know lots of exercise can prevent the immune system from declining and protect you against infections! Cycling is an extremely efficient exercise, improving your cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility! Additionally, studies show routine cycling reduce stress, making the exercise ideal for an after-work activity. Cycling can also reverse or reduce the risk of heart failure if regular exercise occurs. Here’s a motivation tip: If you’re looking to start cycling, download a tracker or mapping app on your phone and record your routes. This will allow you to see how far you have travelled. Look to try and increase the distance you travel each time or if you really want to challenge yourself, try and beat your fastest time!
Opportunity to meet new people
As cycling continues to grow, more and more people are getting into the sport and there are many different cycling groups across the country. If you’re looking to get out on the road but would prefer to have some company, you should have a look at joining a group, it’s a great way to socialise and you will be keeping fit too!
Skip the traffic
If you live in a busy city and have to drive to work, you may find that sitting in traffic is part of the daily routine and in which case you’ve probably seen the cyclists go whizzing by while you wait. Why not join them and bike to work? It may take more time but you’ll soon feel uplifted and energised when you get there. Make the most of the summer mornings and enjoy the weather while it lasts!
Have you heard of the cycle to work scheme?
The Cycle to Work Scheme is an initiative that was introduced by the government to encourage and promote healthier journeys to work. It enables employers to loan bikes and equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. This scheme is great if you’re able to bike to work, as not only will you get a new bike but you can also save on the cost of fuel too! If you’ve not heard of the scheme before it may be worth checking with your employer to see if this is something they offer.