How would you like insurance when on the road? (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

Accident and liability
insurance is one of those things many people have and hope they never have to use.
However, many cyclists in the United States are actually not covered when on
their bicycle, and in the event of an accident can find themselves facing high
medical bills.

Better World Club and Gales
Creek Insurance Services
of Portland, Oregon, announced a new partnership that
can bring accordable accident and liability insurance to bicyclists. And much
like auto insurance, this also offers an option for roadside assistance

The BIKEon provides accident
insurance for riders, providing up to $100,000 to reimburse for bills, and a
liability payment of up to $1 million for each occurrence in the event of an
accident that is even caused by the rider and results in injuries to other
people or damage to property.

“This is not to cover
high-end ‘Gucci bikes’,” said Jeffrey Lang, RD chief of Gales Creek
Insurance Services. “This is a group policy and is sold to groups. This is a
pooling mechanism to keep the insurance costs down.”

The challenge has thus far
been to make it affordable, Lang told BikeRadar.

At present the BIKEon
Accident and Liability Insurance policy is included in the $39.95 bicycle
roadside assistance program to members, and is available with or without Better
World Club’s auto club membership. It is aimed at cyclists who ride road bikes,
mountain bikes or electric bikes on public roads or shared paths.

“Because there’s been such an
increase in the number of cyclists on the roads, there’s also a higher chance
that they’ll get into an accident and incur huge medical bills or be sued. As a
result, we keep getting more and more calls asking for insurance coverage to
cover cyclists comparable to the benefits drivers enjoy,” said Mitch Rofsky,
president of Better World Club. “GCIS’s accident and liability insurance
coverage gives riders peace of mind in knowing that their expenses will be taken
care of in the event of an accident, and that they are not taking a financial
risk by getting out of their cars and onto their bikes.”

This program, which Lang
helped develop has been in the works for 14 years, and he hopes this could give
peace of mind when it is needed most, namely after an accident.

“Every day there are
unfortunately individuals in cities around the country who are severely injured
while riding a bike,” said Lang. “And this is all too commonly caused by an
unissued motorist who runs over a cyclists. The rider now faces high medical
bills just because he or she was riding a bike.”

Thus this is an accident
policy, not a form of health insurance for riders. And that distinction is an
important one.

“It is an accident policy,” said Lang. “It is to pay for medical bills and things that might not be
covered by traditional health insurance, much the way auto insurance would
cover an individual in an accident.”

The concept said Lang is to
put the cyclists on equal footing with drivers.

“We don’t want to see
cyclists penalized for riding a bike and not driving in car,” he stressed.
“They shouldn’t be punished for not wrecking the atmosphere!”

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