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Cyclists across the UK are learning that comprehensive insurance is becoming more of a necessity.
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With more cyclists on the road and traffic figures returning to pre-lockdown levels, space is becoming ever more squeezed and the chances of an accident are increasing.
The added risk is something that club riders Cycling Weekly spoke to are more than aware of, with many confronting the fact that in the event of accidental damage, repairing their carbon bikes or replacing them all together is a high-priced affair that is becoming ever harder to justify.
Broughton CG member Garry Stevens admitted that having insurance is something he is going to invest in. “It’s something I think more about now because last year I crashed at 51mph and I was so lucky that I was barely injured.
“I overcooked a bend at the bottom of a descent that I didn’t know, slammed on my brakes, my back wheel kicked out, smoke kicked up, I hit a kerb, went through a temporary road sign and landed in a ditch.
“My right shifter snapped in half, the hydraulic fluid went everywhere, and the rear derailleur broke. That was £200 of damage I could have done without.”
Preparing for the unexpected
Paul Atkinson, secretary of Minehead Wheelers, has twice claimed for cover on his cycling insurance after accidents. “Six months into having taken out policy, I was riding across the Pyrenees and when I was putting my bike together, I knocked the Di2 cable and as a consequence the battery was impacted.
“It meant that I couldn’t change to the front chainring and I had to cycle in the small ring. I eventually found a shop to repair it in the middle of the Pyrenees but it cost me about £300. The insurance paid the lot apart from the excess.”
Previously, Atkinson had been involved in a road accident. “I wasn’t severely injured, but all my clothing was ripped and my Garmin was snapped. I was thankful I had insurance to cover me.”
For Atkinson, who added that “as a club secretary it would be remiss of me not to point out to members how essential third party insurance is, especially for group rides”, his monthly fee for cover is an outlay he simply has to make.
“I have some expensive bikes and if something was to happen, I’m talking minimum £3,000 to get a new one. And if something goes wrong abroad – it only goes up.”
Marty Curren, rider at Cleveland Wheelers who counts 12 bikes in his collection including a Cervélo C5, said: “Every now and again, I absolutely think about the importance of insurance. It’s usually when I’m flying down a big hill, I hit some gravel and I have a squeaky bum moment.
“I think that if I came off here, then that’s maybe a nasty injury to me or goodbye to my bike.”
Stevens is considering racing for the first time after building up his best-ever fitness base during lockdown. Prior to beginning, though, acquiring some race wheels and insurance is at the top of his must-buy list.
He said: “I’ll 200 per cent get insurance for races for two reasons. I’d buy new wheels that aren’t cheap, but also because the risk of crashing at cat 4 level is high.
“Some riders don’t know how to ride in a group, they could cut me up or clip my wheels and that does worry me.”
Out on the open road and away from closed circuits, Britain’s infamous pot-holed roads, especially in the winter, are a cause of concern for all of us when dodging and swerving the biggest ones that could very easily result in us falling from our bike, into a car or another rider.
With the Covid-19 pandemic preoccupying the services of the NHS, receiving private health care in smaller centres is more appealing – and fixing a broken bone or requiring dental treatment can be costly.
Having personal injury cover is more important than ever, especially with more cyclists sharing the road and drivers appearing more rushed than ever. “Milton Keynes was dead in lockdown, but now it’s busier than ever and I’ve had quite a few close calls. People seem to have forgotten how to drive,” Stevens said.
Close passes from cars are a perennial source of frustration and irritation, but sometimes it is us who are culpable of almost crashing and damaging another person’s property.
While all of us strive to obey the Highway Code, there are incidences when we don’t, however minor, and without third party (public liability) cover, you are at risk of a potentially expensive bill landing on your doorstep.
Pedalsure’s cover starts from just £6 a month – and that is a significantly cheaper price than paying for a new car bumper or windscreen that you might accidentally break after being at fault for an incident.
What’s more, Pedalsure will deal with the claim within 24 hours and provide you cover in less than a minute meaning you can be back pedalling with confidence quicker than sorting through a damaged bike or body than without cover.