As warmer weather approaches, more people will be riding their bicycles on the road and, inevitably, that means that more bicyclists will be injured.
What can you do to protect yourself?
There are several things that you can do to lessen the chances of being hit, or of reducing the magnitude of the injury if you are hit.
- Use a bright light and wear reflective clothing if you are riding in the dark or at dawn or dusk.
- Do not ride alone, but rather ride in groups of 3-10
- Be aware of your surroundings- i.e. don’t be plugged into an I-phone or some other device when riding
- If possible, avoid busy, narrow high speed streets, especially during heavy traffic times
- Wear a helmet
What can you do to protect yourself if you are hit? The number one piece of protection you can have is adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This is a coverage that you can purchase from you auto carrier and it provides protection to you if your injuries are caused by uninsured/underinsured motorist. Although it is not intuitive, if you are riding you bicycle and you are hit by a car that flees the scene that car is considered an underinsured vehicle and thus, this coverage applies. Under the terms of most insurance agreements, you have an obligation to notify your carrier of a potential claim as soon as reasonably possible after the incident occurs. If you fail to do so, then your carrier may be able to argue that you have breached the terms of your insurance agreement and that as a result you no longer are entitled to coverage. Accordingly, even though you were on a bicycle (this also applies if you are in your car or a pedestrian) you should notify your own automobile carrier if you are injured because of another vehicle, even if that vehicle flees the scene and you cannot identify its driver. UM/UIM coverage provides to you the same as liability provides to someone you may have injured – namely compensation for lost pay, medical expenses and pain and suffering. All persons should ensure that their UM/UIM limits are at least as great as their bodily injury (BI) limits because UM/UIM protects you from the negligent actions of others while BI protects others from your negligence. So, while you would rather not be injured while riding your bicycle, do make sure that you have UM/UIM coverage in place before you hit the road.