As bicyclists, we’ve all heard of other riders who were involved in an accident with a vehicle. Perhaps you’ve even had experience with aggressive drivers or a dangerous road condition first-hand. Because these incidents are all too common, we know how important it is to wear helmets.
However, rarely do we hear about
an equally important need;
the need to be adequately insured.
Most people are unaware that many of the coverages on your automobile policy extend to provide you protection while you’re on your bicycle. Hard to imagine? Let’s look at an example. Tom was an extremely cautious bicycle rider, always wearing a helmet and obeying all the traffic laws. However, one day, he was involved in an accident with a hit and run driver. Tom had extensive injuries that required a several months stay in the hospital and extensive physical therapy. Due to his injuries, he was also unable to work for a year and a half. Fortunately for Tom (and his wife and two children who depended upon him for support), he had just reviewed his insurance coverage a month earlier and increased his Uninsured Motorist limits. This coverage paid for his medical costs, rehabilitation, and his lost wages while he was out of work.
While Tom’s accident involved a hit and run driver, even if an accident occurs where the driver is identified, adequate Uninsured Motorist coverage is important because many drivers carry inadequate liability coverage. In this case, the coverage protects you from “underinsured” motorists.
It’s dangerous out on the road and it’s bad enough that bicyclists have to contend with speeding 4,000 pound vehicles. While there’s not a whole lot we can do to make others drive more safely, we do have the power to protect ourselves and our families in the event of an accident.
Now that you know helmets aren’t enough, consult with an insurance agent to ensure that your insurance covers you while you’re on your bicycle and that your coverage is adequate.
Tim Goodrich is a Torrance Councilmember, an Insurance Broker, and a member of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 310-414-9409.
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