Safety and insurance for cyclists

Safety and insurance for cyclists

Roads, shared-use paths, and cycle paths can all present safety concerns for cyclists. To minimise risk, cyclists should keep their bike in good conditon, and adhere to the guidance on safe cycling. However, regular cyclists may wish to consider insurance which covers them in the event of causing an accident.

Car drivers, who use their own vehicles on University business, sign a declaration that their vehicles are insured for business use, are legally compliant, and that the driver has a valid driving licence. They also have to take a test when using vehicles that form part of the University fleet. For cyclists, there is nothing comparable. So far there are no tests designed to prove the competence in bike use for cyclists at the University.

Insurance for commuting by bike does exist, but is not compulsory like car insurance. As a vulnerable road user, cyclists are less likely to be the cause of an accident on the roads. However, on shared path infrastructure the opposite is true - cyclists are more likely to be at fault for an incident involving pedestrians, or indeed other cyclists.

If a cyclist wants to be on 'the safe side' we suggest the following:

1. Cyclists should check with their insurer if accidents during cycling (at work or not) are covered by their existing accidental damage policy or home contents insurance. They should consider adding such cover. 

2. Cyclists should ensure that their bicycle is road-worthy. If possible, all records/receipts for bicycle repairs and maintenance should be kept. Use common sense – never use a bicycle if it is not working properly, for your own good.

3. Cyclists should review their skills against the National Standard for cycle training. Competency of these skills will greatly minimise a cyclist's risk of being involved in an accident.

Cycle Law Scotland, who are specialist lawyers for cyclists, recently gave a talk at the University covering several topics, including insurance for cyclists. A recording of a similar webinar can be found on YouTube here.