May is National Bike Month!
It’s no secret that bicycling has been a favorite pastime ever since we can remember. In recent years, however, bicycling has increased in popularity as not only a sport, but a means of transportation. Here are just a few of the statistics:
- Bike sales have increased by 20% from 1992-2006¹
- Bike commuting grew 47% nationwide in the last decade²
- California alone has over 161,000 people who say they commute to work via bicycle³
There are many things we consider before going on a bike ride. Air in the tires? Check. Bike lock? Check. Helmet? Check. However, here’s something we might not think about as much. We know that bicycle theft is very prevalent in large cities and suburbs, but on college and university campuses, bicycle theft accounts for over half of property crime¹. This gives us one more thing to consider – is your bike insured? And if so, on what policy and how much coverage do you actually have?
For most of us, we spend a couple hundred dollars on a decent bike. Then, we throw in a little more for a lock and helmet, and call it good. In this case, a standard homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover your bicycle under the personal property section. If your bike is stolen or damaged in a fire, or other disaster listed on your policy, your insurance carrier will reimburse you (minus your deductible) up to the stated limits. Remember, if you use your bike for commuting or racing, you may have paid much more for your bicycle and the standard coverage may not be enough. Listing your bicycle separately or “scheduling” your bike on the policy will afford broader coverage. Be sure to talk with your insurance professional to discuss different options and coverage levels.
One last (but very important) thing to think about when bicycling: Safety. As bicycling activity rises, unfortunately, so do bicycle fatalities. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accounted for 677 pedalcyclist fatalities – up 9% from just one year earlier⁴. Here are just a few important safety tips to remember:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Make sure you can be seen by cars, pedestrians and other cyclists.
- Wear bright, reflective clothing and if riding at night, use lights.
- Be aware of any hazards on the road or trail such as potholes, loose gravel and wandering animals.
- Maintain control of your bike at all times by keeping at least one hand on the handlebars and carry books or bags on your back or in a basket.
By following these tips, you’ll be safer and decrease your chances of a bike related accident. If, in fact, you’re involved in an accident and cause harm to someone or their property, your homeowners or renters policy also affords coverage for liability in such cases. Again, speak to your insurance representative for details about your specific policy limits.
Next week, May 17th – 21st is Bike to Work Week.
Now that you’re prepared, go ahead and get your bike out of the garage. Dust it off, adjust the seat & air up those tires. Let’s ride! Now if only you could find that bike lock….