posted 4 years ago

Should All Cyclists Have Insurance?

What The Law Says About Road Users On Two Wheels

There’s a lot of pain and anguish on Britain’s roads and pavements that’s being hushed up and causing as little noise as the turning wheels of a bicycle – and that’s my gripe.

Only the other day, I was seeking to cross a long, crossing-free road in the Manchester rush hour by being waved through bonnet to bumper queuing traffic by the car drivers.

I reached the white line in the middle of the road, looked left, to see if I could cross the other side and, to my horror, was almost mowed down by a cyclist absolutely belting down the middle of the road to my right, appearing out of nowhere and moving at a good 15 mph.

His only response was to yell, ‘Watch out!’ as he continued with no adjustment in speed whatsoever, as if he had a God-given right to proceed unhindered, without reacting to anything in his path.

‘Watch out’ indeed!

In the last few months alone, the Manchester Evening News has reported on two road traffic incidents involving cyclists.

In the first, an 81-year-old woman was knocked down, suffering a broken arm and shoulder and requiring hospitalisation.

She died nine days later.

On September 30, a cyclist knocked another woman down and left her unconscious in the street.  The cyclist just sped off. 

The road victim in this instance needed a five-day hospital stay and complex surgery on her injuries - predicted to take at least four months to heal.

There was no way of tracing the cyclist and, amazingly, they had committed no offence.

The law

According to a senior police officer speaking after the incident in which a Manchester pedestrian was “mowed down” in September, there is “currently no legal requirement for a pedal cyclist to be insured and there is no legislative requirement for them to stop or provide their name and address following a collision”.

There’s also no registration plate through which to trace an at-fault cyclist.

Furthermore, Greater Manchester Police’s policy is to not record road traffic incidents if there is no motorised vehicle involved.

Cyclists require no knowledge of the Highway Code, no licence and no insurance.

Had the errant cyclists in these incidents been traced, there’s a probability they would have no insurance policy to claim against.

Having either Third Party or Comprehensive insurance is optional for cyclists and few buy it, relying, if on anything, on home insurance policies, offering little cycling-specific cover. 

The need for insurance

The need-for-insurance argument works both ways.

If a cyclist suffers personal injury, they could lodge a claim through their insurer.

The Association of British Insurers said back in November 2011, following a 12% increase in accidents involving cyclists in the first quarter of the year, that cyclists should have insurance protection.

It warned that liability cover was a must, as cyclists could be sued for damages.

A good specialist policy costs only £30-£40, but cyclists tend to turn a blind eye, pointing out there are far more traffic accidents – even on pavements – caused by cars.

This issue is like a red rag to a bull for cyclists.

They deny a need for insurance by swerving the argument and highlighting the lengths they have to go to, to stay safe, whether that’s avoiding vehicles, potholes or drain covers.

They say drivers jump red lights, just as they do, which is true.

The difference is that the driver can be traced.


A commuting cyclist can maintain an average speed of 15mph, while a fit one, on a light road bike, can probably reach and maintain 20-25mph – a speed that, combined with a bike’s sharp metal, can do serious damage to anyone, particularly a child.

But beyond the issue of personal injury, there’s also that of damaging vehicles and leaving the scene of the incident, scot-free, with no obligation to leave a note to explain and take responsibility for the nice big dint, or scrape down the side.

We all know and appreciate that cycling assists congestion and cuts pollution.

We’re not arguing with that, nor asking cyclists to pay Vehicle Excise Duty.

We just want them to have some accountability.

One quarter of road users in London’s morning rush hour are cyclists.

That’s one-in-four road users, who have no responsibility to report an accident to property or person and who, more than likely, could never be traced after an incident, no matter how serious.

That’s frightening.

*What do you think? Should cycle insurance be compulsory to protect third parties?

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The cyclist should be insured, since most of them ride on the road even though a cycle path is provided. This should void their claim to do their bit for green environment and add to the extra pollution caused due to lorries unable to overtake on single carriage ways.

As a final comment one of the things we should constantly should be saying may not be about insurance, but about training. I'm sure many of the cyclists motorists complain about are ignorant of the rules they should be following. Maybe we could save cyclists lives if we get them to have a compulsory test before they are allowed on the road.They could have a ticket arm band just like doormen.Maybe thats an answer.

Why should cyclists be free to ride away after any sort of involvement in an accident??? Maybe a small percentage of cyclists are insured, but do they stop and give the details to an injured party?? NO!!! and how many of the public would think to ask a cyclist for insurance, this is what cyclists count on. Bicycles cause damage and will hurt and can maim if they hit human flesh, and to prove it I am willing to ride into any contesting volunteer at 11 mph to prove the point. All cyclists mixing it with motor vehicles should have some sort of road fund licence showing on the bike as my old moped did, which in turn should demand a minimum of third party insurance.

Cyclists should indeed be made to be accountable and definitely should have insurance! There is now a mood of complete indifference by the majority of cyclists using the road and worse yet, not all but a large percentage of cyclists take advantage of the lack of accountability by breaking the law and putting other road users well being at risk! It's very easy to sit back and say that infrastructure should be improved etc but clearly the people with that argument overlook the fact that the road system was designed hundreds of years ago and is not easily converted into a "cycle friendly" network.

I woman who cycle to work and think cyclist must be registered, licensed and insured as a any other road vehicle. Some of the cyclist have no road discipline. While some ride on pavements even during rush hour. There are lot of bad selfish cyclists on the road.

The cyclist may well have been insured.. you are assuming lack of stopping has some relevance to insured state..a lot of people are insured through membership of various cycling organisations. The fact he didn't stop probably indicates he doesn't cycle most of the time but is actually a car driver 99% of the time, as this is their selfish default action.

For an insurance policy to pay out negligence must be proved on the balance of probabilities. In most cases this would not be made out even with a duty of care as the pedestrian is often at fault. The arguments on this post become redundant in the main. In those cases where a cyclist cases SERIOUS harm or damage in the greta majority of cases they are already covered by house or other cycling insurance. Why tinker with laws for no real benefit and an additional financial burden for all.

Neil's reasoning does not stand up, a lot of damage can be done to a human body and to property at Neil's speed of 11 mph which as we ex cyclists know is quite a mean speed. There should be no fending and proving from irresponsible cyclists a bike hitting a person old or otherwise at any sort of speed HURTS!!! and in some circumstances can kill. Even pedestrians should have accountability for dangerous actions, and someone once told me that an injured party can claim from a cyclist or pedestrian against their house insurance, I an not sure if that is correct but it should be and I hope it is. Cyclists should be as accountable as every other road user and should not be allowed to ride off after an accident leaving another person with a repair bill or nursing injuries.

exagertions in this article -i drive a car and also cycle . if you are crossing a busy road , use you eyes and look to to see if its clear to cross rather than relying on another road user to tell you its ok . i dont believe the speeds claimed for cycle riders , i average about 11 mph , but i dont get overtaken all the time by other far fitter cyclists doing 25 mph -try doing 25 mph on a cycle - elite pro cyclists on tour de france maybe , but not your average cyclist . i also dont agree with the statement that a cycle has sharp metal ! utter rubish ! does the writer really think that a manufacturer would make a product for a person to use ,and make it with sharp metal ? a bit of perspective here - my bike weighs 14 kg and i get up to 11 mph on a regular ride . a lot of my route is in 30 mph limit , so i am doing approx 1/3rd of the max speed limit. compare that with a car weighing from 1000 kg up to something like a land rover discovery weighing 2700 kg -yes thats 2.7 tonnes of car doing 30 mph or if the drivers speeding a lot more than that . even at the legal 30 mph speed limit , the impact of even a smaller 1000 kg car in a collision would be vastly greater than one person on a very light cycle

Yes definitely. I was waiting to pull out of my turning, and a cyclist went straight into the side of my brand new car. Damage £2.200.00 for a new door. That's the same amount of damage that maybe a car would have done, but at least it would not have cost me to get it done.

Everybody using a form of transport should be accountable and have insurance cover, bicycles can kill and injure and should conform to the laws of the road and highway code. It should also be illegal to cycle with ear phones in the ears, as it is just as dangerous as texting while driving.

I can't really see how insurance would ameliorate the issues concerned. Th real problem is that there is no clear place for cyclists on most of britains roads. We beed far more cycle lanes so that cyclists don't have to use the payment or compete with cars over space. This would reduce accidents all round. Britain seriously lags behind nearly every other country in Europe on this. The benefits of decent cycling infrastructure would far outweigh the costs in terms of promoting a healthier and more productive population experiencing greater wellbeing and reducing pollution. I suggest a single one off tax for road users to creste a fund to solve these problems once and for all!

Yes cyclists should be insured.This year i have met groups of cyclists riding 4 abreast on narrow rural roads, others failing to stop,at junctions, and using public foot paths,whilst i cycled myself .

If one is both a car driver and a cyclist obviously one can only be using one method of transport ant any one time. Why can one's car insurance not then also cover cycle use?

So the argument rages on about responsibility . In the first instance i i am a pedestrian , secondly i cycle i am a cyclist......and lastly i drive i'm a motorist. With a law of strict / presumed liability all of the above activities and those that persue them would be "protected " by law and more importantly the least vulnerable of our citizens would be protected . The question should be why (we are 1 only 4 countries) would we not want to do this ?

Let's face it! There are plenty of cyclists and motorists who simply should not be on the road,so arguing who are the villains and who are not is pointless. Let us have cyclists insured so that we have a level playing field. It needn't cost the earth and would perhaps encourage a sense of responsibility.

Cyclists take their life in their hands every day on britains roads, it is the car drivers that need to be more aware of them, all you need to do is look at the camera footage on the likes of youtube to see drivers crossing into cycling lanes or cutting them up when turning left, I am a car owner as well as a cyclist so I am constantly aware of any cyclists around me when driving I am also extra vigilant when cycling as I have had a couple of near misses with drivers cutting me up either to or from work the government is doing its damndest to put cars off the road whilst trying to encourage more people to cycle to and from work

First of all the argument that there are motorists not having insurance etc is irrelevant as two wrongs do not make a right. Having said that the police can identify cars that are not taxed or have insurance through number plate recognition. Also how many people have been in incidents doesn't take into account the number of accidents avoided that could have happened. I have been driving for 40 years and have been involved in an accident where somebody pulled out from a side road and wrecked my car. He was French and had got the whole driving on left/ right thing confused. We pushed my car to the side of the road, went and had coffee, exchanged details and everything was settled. However in the last year I could have easily have been involved in the death of three cyclists. One who turned right in front of me, no checking behind him, no signalling. Another sped across a pedestrian crossing despite the traffic lights being green. The third was travelling towards me on the wrong side of the road in the dark and with no lights. We have also had a cyclist ringing their bell at my wife who walks very slowly with the aid of a stick and she used a zebra crossing. Does this all mean I think cyclists should be banned from the road- no, but many should take a lot more care. However the whole point is should cyclists be insured? Well why shouldn't they be? Everybody who is in charge of a vehicle should be and they should be identifiable. In a car the number plate is the means, but for the cyclist there is the difficulty of borrowed bikes etc. The answer is anybody who wishes to ride a bike on the road needs to have a visible numberplate but in the form of a belt or equivalent. This would be available when you have 3rd party insurance. This should decrease the number of hit and runs with no come back.

Complaining about uninsured cyclists is a smokescreen to conceal anti-cyclist bigotry. The real menace derives from uninsured, unlicenced, disqualified motorists, together with drivers on the phone, whether hands-free or hand-held. "Uninsured drivers are a danger on our roads, killing 160 and injuring a further 23,000 people each year, and they cost honest motorists £500 million in extra premiums. That is why we are introducing this tough new law which will leave uninsured drivers with nowhere to hide." "Latest estimates are that around 4% (around 1.4 million) of GB motorists drive uninsured. The penalty for driving without insurance is a maximum fine of £5,000 and six to eight penalty points or possible disqualification. Around 200,000 offenders are convicted for uninsured driving every year. Currently every responsible motorist pays an average £30 each year within their premiums to cover crashes involving uninsured and untraced drivers. It is also estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year. Measures already introduced in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 gave police improved access to the Motor Insurance Database and powers to seize vehicles driven without insurance. In 2009 around 180,000 uninsured vehicles were seized." DfT

Cyclists should have insurance registration plates and pay road tax. Many are an absolute menace on the roads ignoring red lights one way signs and riding on pavements. I was a cyclist until recently but most now seem to be irresponsible

Got to go now, Aemoba. To collect my pension - that's if i'm not knocked down by a cyclist lout in the PEDESTRIANISED precinct first.

I don't believe the majority of cyclists are in clubs, either...certainly not the louts who cycle through our town centre swerving in and out of pedestrian shoppers on any day/night of the week. flouting every rule of the road/pavement. But then they probably don't bother with any insurance ...household, or otherwise.

Yes they should have insurance and number plates like other road users. Our Local Council has spent millions on cycle lanes, so why do the Lycra Louts insist on riding in the road NEXT to the cycle lanes? Is it arrogance or just ignorance?

mark rae Commented: "many cyclists are already insured"....How do you know this, Amoeba? Don't tell me - you ASKED your fellow cyclists!LOL." It's relatively simple, membership of cycling clubs often includes third-party liability insurance, household insurance often includes third-party liability. I recommend cyclists to check the household cover to ensure cycling is covered. It's very low-cost, because the risk is low. Research shows cyclists were at fault in only 7 percent of collisions. (DfT)

If lights are a legal requirement, why don't the majority of cyclists in the UK use them? i'll go out on a limb here....The vast majority of cyclists do NOT have insurance.

mark rae Commented: "Most cyclists wouldn't buy lights for use after dark, or a cycle helmet. Let alone insurance!!!" Lights are a legal requirement. ---- Whereas helmets are of little genuine use in a collision with a motor-vehicle. It's complicated. But in the Netherlands, where almost everyone cycles, hardly anyone wears a helmet. That alone tells everyone what they need to know about bicycle helmets. ----- Many cyclists have insurance.

Paulie Driver Commented: "Sorry Amoeba, wrong,I encourage my family to take extra care of cyclists when they drive. The elephant in the room is every single day anyone can see cyclists breaking even the most basic laws, from cycling the wrong way up one way streets on the pavement to running red lights." I'm not attempting to justify any lawlessness - bad cycling included, but I can probably guess why some cycle on the footway, they were almost certainly frightened there by angry, aggressive and incompetent motorists (often ranting ignorantly about the mythical road-tax). Motorists do many dangerous things around cyclists (including): Following dangerously close (frequently accompanied by revving their engines or illegal hooting) Overtaking through pinch-points Overtaking then braking Overtaking then stopping Overtaking then turning left Turning right across the cyclist's path Emerging from side turnings and stopping. Matching a cyclist for speed then pushing them off the road. One can easily conclude that much of this behaviour is the direct result of having a motorised suit of armour. Bullies bully.

Most cyclists wouldn't buy lights for use after dark, or a cycle helmet. Let alone insurance!!!

"many cyclists are already insured"....How do you know this, Amoeba? Don't tell me - you ASKED your fellow cyclists!LOL.

Don't get me wrong, all hit and run collisions should be treated equally seriously. --- Many cyclists are already insured. Research shows that the majority of collisions between adult cyclists and motor-vehicles, the driver was to blame. Which is hardly surprising, given the amount of vehicular bullying (by motorists) that goes-on. ------ Motoring causes vastly more death, disease and morbidity than cycling. Cycling needs to be encouraged and people need to be encouraged out of their cars. Remember 20% of motor-vehicle journeys are two miles or shorter and 55% are five miles or shorter, most of these can easily be cycled, or walked. And if they were, many tens of thousands would would be protected from death & morbidity caused by air-pollution; diseases of physical inactivity (cancers; heart & stroke; osteoporosis; depression; some dementias; diabetes; & etc.); road collisions; & etc. Annual deaths: physical inactivity estimated at 96,000 (lower bound) air pollution 26,000, likely figure of ~60,000. ------ It is likely that increasing walking and cycling levels could reduce annual premature deaths by ~124,000.

Motorists prevent many thousands of cyclists deaths & injuries by looking out for them, and generally taking avoidance tactics, because of cyclists stupid/ignorance/lack of road sense. Cyclists generally (a few look out for themselves) seem to think its up to everyone else to look after them.

Sorry Amoeba, wrong,I encourage my family to take extra care of cyclists when they drive. The elephant in the room is every single day anyone can see cyclists breaking even the most basic laws, from cycling the wrong way up one way streets on the pavement to running red lights.Car drivers get caught and fined cyclists just get yelled at and then they race off. As for 80% being car drivers, shame on them, they jump red lights because they know they will get away with it. In stead of taking it out on other road users safe road legal cyclists should lambast their inconsiderate and illegal fellow cyclists.

"In the last few months alone, the Manchester Evening News has reported on two road traffic incidents involving cyclists." I searched MEN for hit and run reports involving motor-vehicles, I gave-up at 13 for the last few months alone. Two incidents at least involved multiple victims. I suspect that the author of the headline article is guilty of 'confirmation bias'. Victims range from a three-year old toddler, a ten year-old through to pensioners.

Pedestrians hit on the footway by different road users in London – 1997-2007 Total killed 54 Killed by Other - 0 Killed by Goods vehicles - 7 Killed by Buses – 9 Killed by Cars / Taxis - 37 Killed by Motorcycles - 1 Killed by Pedal Cycles – 0 Would you prefer to be hit by a driver in a Ford Mondeo at 30 mph (possibly 40 mph) or a skinny cyclist travelling at 20 mph?

The reality is 80% of cyclists drive so the haters who imply (or claim) that cyclists don't know the Highway Code are being disingenuous. As a cyclist who drives, I would like motorists to obey the Highway Code, as many show no sign of having ever read it, it's true that a proportion cyclists aren't very good in this respect, but the reality is that stupidity in charge of a bicycle normally only endangers the cyclist, whereas stupidity in charge of a motor-vehicle endangers everyone. The greatest danger is from the unlicenced, uninsured, disqualified drivers. Plus the 45% of car drivers on the phone and 78% of van drivers on the phone. And the menace of motorists with up to 45 penalty points and yet still driving legally - (12 points means a one year ban, so this injustice has to end) Blaming cyclists is just scape-goating. I'd like to see zero tolerance Traffic Policing stopping and prosecuting ALL road users who break the rules.

04/12/2014 06:09:12 Jayne Allison Commented: "They've had number plates and compulsory insurance on cycles in Switzerland for over 30 year" Untrue: Jayne Allison, you're out of date, it was discontinued in 2011. Your claim is misleading and no-longer the case.

I think all cyclists should have insurance, I was involved in a collision with a cyclist who jumped a red light at a major junction, thank god he was not injured apart from his pride however I was left with a repair bill of over £1000 and the cyclist said get over it. we need to address attitude as well as insurance issues here.

They've had number plates and compulsory insurance on cycles in Switzerland for over 30 years and I've always thought it should be the same here. A fail safe for they'd too. My ex was stopped using a bike over there as it was registered to my aunt.

Some years ago I was knocked down by a cyclist whilst crossing the road. The cyclist claimed that his chain came off and as he looked down to see what had caused it, he ran into me and knocked me over. I sustained a broken arm and shoulder which needed surgery to fit a metal plate in my arm. I was hospitalised for a week and could not work for another 3 weeks. The pain lasted for nearly 12 months, Had the accident been caused by, say, a moped, I could have claimed on the driver's insurance. As it was, the cyclist disappeared and I was unable to claim any kind of compensation. I am all for cyclists having insurance so that this kind of anomalous situation would be a thing of the past!

why just cyclist !!!! no one has said anything about horse riders who also use the roads (and leave there crap al; over ). and another point if like me you drive and cycle and have fully comp then should you not already be 3rd party covered !!! I do have an insurance policy for my bike just incase anyone was wondering

Any insurance will have a tax element so in effect this will be one for the exchequer. The average decent person will get the insurance if it's ever implemented but the oiks ..... they don't get car insurance.

all cycles should have a number plate and or be registered with the dvla.they seem to have a law of their own.PS I AM A CYCLIST before any one says anything.

Nothing wrong with cycling in it's own right, but when groups of cyclists group up and ride up to 4 abreast on a road and perhaps 20 bicycles long it becomes a road hazard. In my area you almost have to round corners and crests of hills at a crawl as there's a chance a 'gang' of cyclists will be blocking the road in front of you. I should add that on many of these roads there are cycle paths, which have cost the taxpayer millions of pounds to construct. Yes, the cycle paths are used by families and what I would class as casual cyclists, but the lycra clad gangs seem to feel that it would be beneath them to even contemplate using a cycle path, so continue to stick to the road causing huge tailbacks. Toot the horn to warn them that there's a car overtaking them and you generally get rude gestures. So yes - time for a change inthe law. Time for cyclists to carry insurance and some form of legible ID plate so that when they ride through red lights or knock people over they can be pursued in the same way as a motorist and held accountable for their actions. Rant over!!

If insurance became compulsory for cyclists then the law abiding cyclists would get cover while the cyclists who jump red lights and ride on footpaths and have no lights at night would not.What is needed first is a new code for cyclists and a lot more training for young cyclists so that good habits are adopted. The poor cyclists would diminish in number and be easier to deal with. Dealing with them at present does not seem to be a priority for our overstretched police force.

I am a cyclist and car diver. just two weeks ago a car knocked me of my bike. I was riding past a junction in a housing estate when a car forced me round in to the junction knocking me of my bike. The only good thing was a off duty policeman was going past at the same time. The idiot is going to court as the policeman said it was dangerous driving. The chap came to my house two days later and asked me to drop the case as he could lose his licence. So me being a gullible fool asked the police to drop the case, i don't want to be a so and so and somebody gets the sack for losing his licence. The police said if i was sure about it, as the case would cost so much to take to court they agreed to drop the case and give the man a warning if he commits another diving offence in the next two years he will lose his licence. As for having insurance i do have it just in case something like that happened to me. The insurance paid out strait away and replaced my bike as the frame had been bent. My insures told me they get there money back from the car driver

Steve Boucher, cars travel in excess of 70mph, you cannot compare a walking or cycling comparison to that.

Insurance for cyclist not until politicians have forced 50/60% of motorists of the road.When you add up the amount of negative attitude by authority and the pushing for electric cars,which only the rich can afford to buy and run it's plain to see the EU wants most of us out of cars and onto cycles or buses. It really is a conspiracy to reduce our mobility,this is why cyclists are getting off with murder,that is,until their target has been reached,then there will be a huge raft of laws put on the cyclist including a licence,cycle tax and insurance,also high viz vests and helmets will be compulsory,tyres will also have to have a minimum depth.This will come about in time as the treasury will need to claw revenue back with the loss of motors. The EU gestapo are determined one way or another to reduce our mobility drastically.

I would like to know how a child cycling to school would have insurance & how this law would be enforced. After all, a nine year old for instance isn't likely to know they need insurance. The parents or guardians aren't likely going to arrange insurance. It's just a law that will never be enforced.

What makes cyclists think they dont require insurance .........just like they use the pavement ,roads ignore the highway code (it applies to all road users)its about time they were accountable and traceable just like all other motorists as i would like to shove there little cameras and hide handed attitude ....oh am only a poor vunrable cyclists so i ride like a pillock and i ride where i want welcomb to the real world and be accountable for been a road user

I have been a car driver for 36 years and a cyclist for 34 years ,I have 3rd party insurance with British Cycling been driven into by offending car drivers 3 times all of you non cyclist who are making comments have not got a clue.