May is National Bike Month in part because it kicks off the summer cycling season. Whether you bike to work or just for fun, it’s important to know both the rules of the road and what’s covered by insurance if something goes wrong.
Insurance Coverage for Bicycles and Riders
There are so many benefits to bicycle riding. It’s great exercise, cuts down on pollution, reduces fuel dependence and is just plain fun! However, with nearly half a million bicycle-related injuries in the U.S. each year, it’s worth taking some time to make sure you’re protected.
When it comes to insurance, you and your bike require different types of coverage. In general, your health insurance should cover any medical care you require (minus your deductible and up to policy limits) if you are injured in a bicycle accident, just as it would cover any other type of injury. However, if the accident involves an automobile, your auto insurance may come into play.
If your bike is stolen or damaged in an accident, it may be covered in part by your homeowners insurance, but it’s a good question to ask. Depending on the value of your bicycle and your policy it may make sense to increase your coverage or consider an umbrella policy.
Insurance for bicyclists and their bikes is not always clear cut, and what you need varies based on other factors as well, such as how often and where you ride and store your bike. Give us a call to talk about your specific situation and how we can make sure you have the coverage you need.
Safety Tips for Summer Cycling
Ensuring you have the right insurance coverage is essential before the hitting the roads and trails, but it’s equally important to practice safety to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. At the start of the season, make sure your bike is in good repair, and review these safety tips:
- Always wear a properly fitting and secure bike helmet. Head injuries can be devastating and deadly. Consider additional safety equipment based on your surroundings.
- Follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists must adhere to the same rules as drivers, obeying signs and signals, and using hand signals in lieu of turn signals.
- Be vigilant. In addition to the same hazards you would look for when driving, exercise extra caution. Pay special attention to things like car doors opening and vehicles backing out of driveways, as well as dangers on the ground, such loose gravel, trash or other detritus.
- Increase your visibility. It’s harder to see a bicycle than an automobile, so try to stand out by wearing bright colors and ensuring your bike is equipped with reflectors and lights if you ride at dusk or after dark.
- Use common sense, just as if you were driving a car. Don’t drink and ride, talk on a cell phone, wear earbuds that limit your hearing, or carry anything that prevents you from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
The warmer weather makes bicycle riding a fun activity for the whole family, and a pleasant way to commute. We wish you a safe and happy summer cycling season!