“You don’t pay road tax,” is a common (and mistaken) complaint against cyclists from motorists ignorant of the history of road funding, but “you don’t have insurance” is another regular complaint.
However, let’s get this into perspective. When a cyclist crashes into a car; the cyclist is highly likely to come off worst. Cyclists ride with the knowledge any collision could lead to a dire outcome; motorists, cocooned in metal boxes, assume they’re snug and safe.
There’s no legal requirement for cyclists to have third-party insurance and this is a reflection of the damage that cyclists can inflict on property and pedestrians. Motorists, on the other hand, are legally obliged to be insured. Worringly, research by Moneysupermarket.com reveals that a fifth of motorists admit to driving without insurance. According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau about 900,000 drivers under the age of 30 are currently driving without insurance. This matters because while a cyclist may cause a pedestrian death once in a blue moon, uninsured drivers kill 160 people each year, and injure a further 23,000.
Cause a death by driving – or cycling – and you risk being prosecuted, and sued for damages.
Smash into somebody’s property, cause damage and you stand a very high risk of being sued for reparation.
No household insurance policy covers motorists while operating their vehicles but some cover all other third-party claims, including from cyclists. Check your small print.
It’s worth noting that, unless specified, most cycle-related third-party insurance, covers the insured for journeys to and from work, and the like, but not for occupational use. Messengers are not covered by standard third-party insurance.