Cycling Safety and Insurance in Australia
A survey sheds light on cycling accident rates.
A new survey from finder.com.au, show that we should remain careful on the roads, as both drivers and cyclists. Almost half of all surveyed drivers (40%) report having an accident or a near miss with a cyclist. In addition, statistics show that 156 cyclists have died on Australian roads since 2013.
Australians are aware and concerned about bike safety
finder’s survey indicates that most Australians are well aware of the risks. 60% of respondents believe cyclists should have compulsory insurance in order to ride.
Who’s thinks they are most likely have an accident involving a cyclist?
Queenslanders are the most likely to report accidents or near misses with cyclists. A staggering 79% of respondents state that the roads are just too dangerous for bikes. Residents of this state are also the most in favour of seeing more bike paths and the most strongly in favour of mandatory registration and insurance for road cyclists, with 68% being in favour of the idea.
The survey also shows that generation Y respondents are the most likely to come close of an accident with a cyclist.
- Personal injury and loss of income
- Third-party liability
- What challenges do cyclists face when applying
In the absence of any mandatory insurance programs for cyclists, and without any legislated CTP insurance for bicycles, it falls on cyclists to be more mindful of their own insurance needs.
Will I need specialist bike insurance?
Some insurers are stepping up with specialised bicycle insurance policies, but these certainly aren’t the only way to get the cover you need.
What are the key safety areas to cover?
The key safety areas you will want to cover include the following:
- Personal injury and loss of income (if you have an accident)
- Third-party liability
Make sure you check:
Check your life insurer for accident cover
Check with your life insurer to see if they include a form of accident cover or income protection insurance. If you were to have an accident whilst riding and left unable to work, income protection can help you keep up with living costs by replacing your income.
If you own a superfund, you will likely have life insurance included in the fund.
If you own a superfund, you will likely have life insurance included in the fund. Get in touch with your superfund to understand what type of cover you have.
Check your health insurance for accident cover
Accident cover is a common feature of many health insurance policies, specifically found with hospital cover. This feature gives you full private hospital cover, in line with your policy terms, for medical care needed following an accident.
It might be worth checking your hospital cover for accident cover. The great thing about health insurance is that legislation makes switching easy, and you can generally move between equivalent cover types without needing to re-serve any waiting periods that have already elapsed.
Check your home and contents cover for bicycle liability insurance
If you're not after a specialised bike insurance policy, you can still find effective cover in the form of property insurance. Homeowners can find it with their home and contents insurance, while renters can get it with their standalone contents insurance.
By insuring your bicycle under contents cover, you can generally get Australia-wide liability insurance for third-party injuries or property damage that you cause while riding your bicycle. You may also get cover for damage to your bike and for theft.
If you haven’t updated your home and contents cover since getting a new bike, it might be a good idea to update your policy or find a home contents insurance policy with liability cover.
While cycling is generally automatically covered by a life insurance policy, some of the key challenges that cyclists could face include the following:
- Loadings. This is an added cost to your premium. This may occur if you cycle but also have a pre-existing injury or have had a past accident.
- Exclusions. Some insurer won’t insure cyclists in some cases, such as if the cyclist is a professional racer or cycles in an extreme capacity.
Disclosure is key
If you didn’t tick the “Yes, I’m a cyclist” box when taking out a life insurance policy, you might want to give your insurer a call.
Disclosing a hobby (as innocent as cycling) can be crucial if you need to make a claim later on. Failure to tell your insurer or answering “no” on your application can give your insurer the right to deny a claim involving a bicycle accident.
The added benefit of disclosing your hobby
It’s reasonable to say that hitting the road on a bicycle is far riskier than doing so in a car. However, in some cases, it might actually be good news for your life and personal injury insurance. Letting your insurer know (depending on the insurer and the situation) that you’ve taken up road cycling might actually make you eligible to certain benefits, including the following:
- Discounts on premiums
- Shopping rewards
- Flight deals
How does it work?
Life insurance companies are keen on combating sedentary lifestyles. Some insurers are willing to offer a range of rewards and discounts for getting fitter and for health management programs. Bicycling and fitness training can definitely help qualify you for these rewards with some insurers.
Note: Be sure you check with your insurer
Long seen as a surprisingly contentious issue in some circles, the need for increased cycling infrastructure might be bringing Australians together. Near misses and serious accidents have caused people to re-examine their opinions, bringing both drivers and cyclists into heated agreement on the potential dangers.
The widespread support for new bicycling legislation might be something for politicians to take note of and use as a powerful (and popular) tool to push for new bike paths.
Road cycling might be exactly as dangerous as it seems and stressful for both drivers and cyclists alike. If there’s one winning issue that everyone can get behind, it might be the need for more investment in cycling infrastructure.
Some useful tips to passing cyclists safely include the following:
- Be mindful when overtaking. Overtake cyclists carefully and only when it is safe to do so.
- Keep a gap. Keep at least 1 metre from cyclists in a 60km/h or under zone and 1.5 meters in 60km/h and above zones.
- Don’t touch your phone. Don’t get distracted by your phone and avoid using in-car GPS or other navigation aids when passing cyclists.
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