Cars have been the people’s choice for transportation for several decades. However, bicycles are making a comeback as society moves towards a more environmentally friendly mindset and focuses on healthier lifestyle choices.
More people in big cities are beginning to use alternative transportation options such as walking, biking, or ridesharing. Ridesharing companies are incredibly popular.
Uber announced a deal to add bicycles as a part of their service with the purchase of Jump Bikes.
Jump is a bike-sharing company in New York and allows people to decrease their carbon footprint. Jump provides “dockless bicycles” freeing riders to park their bikes anywhere rather than only at specific locations.
With the addition of Jump to Uber’s brand, we should reevaluate rider safety and what kind of precautions you should take before jumping on your bike.
Biking is the obvious healthier alternative to driving a car, but there are different risks involved. Did you know? There were 840 bicyclists killed in the U.S. in 2016 – a three percent increase from the year prior.
Having an accident as a cyclist could be more devastating than as a driver in a car. Read on to find out how to protect yourself and your bike while out on the road.
GENERAL BIKE SAFETY
Bicycle sales have greatly increased in the last ten years while passenger car sales have decreased. As more people take up biking, it is important to know a few general rules for bike safety.
- You should always wear a helmet that fits your head. Take the time to find out the right helmet fit, and if necessary, adjust the straps to position it correctly on your head.
- Know the rules of the road. Cyclists are required to follow the same rules as motorists. These rules include riding in the same direction as car traffic, stopping at traffic lights and stop signs, and using hand signals to indicate which direction you are turning.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Make sure you wear clothing that ensures you are seen by drivers, especially at night. Do not ride with headphones on as they can distract you and block the sounds of traffic around you.
INSURANCE OPTIONS FOR BICYCLISTS
In addition to general bike safety, bicyclists should be aware of the various insurance options that will protect them in case of an accident.
#1 – CAR INSURANCE
While you may not initially think of it, car insurance can be beneficial to a bicyclist. Car insurance is not required for cyclists; however, there are some helpful options available.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help to protect you in the event of an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage.
On average, half of the motorists today are driving without car insurance. If you are hit by one of these drivers, you will be liable for all medical payments as well as additional payments such as property replacement and lost wages.
However, if you are covered by uninsured or underinsured coverage, you will not have to pay for everything yourself. This coverage protects you from a driver without insurance.
Uninsured and underinsured coverage also helps to cover the difference between the driver’s policy limits and what you need to be compensated.
#2 – HEALTH INSURANCE
Health insurance can cover the cost of medical payments in case of surgery or hospitalization. Medical expenses can be devastating, even to the point of financial bankruptcy.
If you are hit by a car while riding your bike, you want to make sure that your injuries will be covered by your insurance so that you don’t have to worry about paying the expenses out of pocket.
Health insurance options include HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO.
Some of these plans, such as a PPO, offer you the freedom to choose basically any doctor or medical facility. Others will charge an extra fee if you use a doctor who is not included in the network.
#3 – LIFE INSURANCE
Life insurance is another option that you may want to consider as a bicyclist. While not a pleasant thought, there is a chance of death if involved in a car accident while riding your bike.
There are different options for life insurance including term life, whole life, universal life, variable life, and universal variable life insurance.
Some types of life insurance such as whole life and universal life insurance offers a cash value in addition to the death benefit for beneficiaries. Term life insurance does not provide any cash value, only a death benefit.
Regardless of what type of life insurance you choose, you must determine how much coverage to buy. How much you buy will depend on how much you want your beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive after your death.
#4 – HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE
Some homeowner’s or renters insurance policies may cover the replacement cost of sporting gear such as a racing or mountain bike.
In order to ensure you have the correct amount of coverage, you need to know the value of your equipment. Keeping receipts, photos, and serial numbers will help you accurately record the value of your biking equipment.
Homeowner’s insurance can also offer you protection from theft. Every homeowner insurance provider offers a variety of coverage limits and deductibles.
However, homeowners policies may only offer low coverage limits and a high deductible which in the end may be too expensive to be worth it.
#5 – BICYCLE INSURANCE
While homeowner’s insurance may offer protection in the event of theft, the policy limits are usually not high enough to cover the entire cost of a bike and equipment, especially if you have an expensive racing or customized bike.
A customized insurance policy from a specialized company might be your best option as they have the most experience with the various risks involved when riding a bicycle.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein.
As a cyclist, you have a responsibility to protect yourself from the possibility of accidental damage, loss of property, or high medical bills.
You don’t want to be caught without protection in the event of an accident with a car or the theft of your bike.
There are several different insurance options available to bicyclists, and you should do your research to ensure you have the correct amount of coverage.