Question: I am car-free! My break-up with my car happened years ago, and I don’t miss it at all. I ride a bike only. I also don’t have car insurance. What happens if I am hit by a car, and it doesn’t have auto insurance? How do the medical bills and lost wages get paid, if usually someone’s car insurance has to pay them?
You may be in a tough spot. How can cyclists, who don’t own a car or have car insurance, protect themselves in case of a crash? What can lessen the blow? There is no perfect answer, but here is some advice.
- Secure health insurance such as BlueCross Blue Shield, Aetna, United Healthcare, or governmental coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid, or through the Affordable Care Act. These insurers and benefit providers can provide payment of medical bills for a bicycle accident.
- Check with your employer to see if you can be covered under a short-term or long-term disability insurance policy. If not, consider purchasing individual short term and long term disability insurance.
- Consider purchasing special insurance for cyclists. Bicycle insurance policies may cover medical bills or injuries arising from a bicycle crash, and may also provide coverage for the damage to your bike. Oftentimes, the coverage by these companies for bike damage is “replacement” coverage than allow you to purchase a similar but brand new bike. Without this type of coverage, you may only be offered the value of your old bike by the at fault motorist’s insurance. Special Bicyclist Coverage is offered by a variety of companies and insurances, which include Velosurance, Spoke Insurance and Market Bicycle Insurance.
Finally, I urge you to contact your local state legislator and request support for mandatory bodily injury liability insurance coverage on all Florida auto insurance policies. Such coverage would provide money compensation to cyclists, who might otherwise by uninsured, when hit by a car.
Christopher G. Burns is an attorney who has specialized in enforcing the rights of injured cyclists for more than 30 years. He is the Chairman for the Jacksonville (Fla.) Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Consultations are free of charge. You may reach him at 904-632-2424, or by contacting him via email here.