Riding a bicycle is a great way to enjoy some exercise while helping reduce emissions and keep Alberta green. However, it also poses some significant safety risks — risks that all cyclists should be proactive about managing. Coverage specific to cyclists is usually offered through your homeowner, condominium and tenant insurance policies.
Winning Tips for Safer Cycling
The best way to guard against injuries and possible insurance liabilities while cycling is to avoid accidents and mishaps in the first place. Understanding where cycling fits within the regular rules of the road and applying proven best practices for safer bike riding can both go a long way to help you steer clear of danger.
First, here’s an overview of the rules of the road, filtered through the cyclist’s point of view:
- Cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicle operators; they are subject to the exact same set of traffic rules and regulations
- While municipal laws vary from city to city in Alberta, most require that you have an operational bell or horn, front and rear reflectors, and a light for nighttime riding
- Those under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while cycling; it is recommended that adults continue to wear one as well, though it’s not mandatory
- Bicycles may not be ridden on sidewalks; if you must go on the sidewalk with your bicycle, dismount and walk it
Next, be sure to incorporate these essential safety practices into your cycling routine:
- Wear high-visibility, reflective clothing, especially when riding at night
- Always signal your intention when you’re making a turn or slowing down
- Keep your bicycle in good working condition, especially in regards to its brakes
- Do not behave erratically or unpredictably when riding on the road, especially on busy streets
- Allow at least 1 to 2 feet of clearance between your bicycle and the curb or gutter, and allow 2 to 3 feet of clearance between your bicycle and any parked cars you may be passing
- Keep your eyes active; continuously scan the road for possible hazards and be proactive about avoiding them
- Stay alert and focus on the road at all times
- Use bicycle lanes whenever possible
- Remember that the majority of accidents happen at intersections; use extra caution at road junctures, especially busy ones
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians at all times
Are You Covered while On Your Bike?
Cyclists also put a lot of time and energy into their rides, and should be aware that bikes are subject to special limits. It doesn’t matter what it cost, coverage for the bicycle itself is determined by the policy, but can be increased by scheduling the bike on the policy for an additional fee. Call your broker for more information.
If you carry home insurance, condo insurance or tenant insurance, chances are you already have adequate protection in place in terms of liability protection specific to cycling. However, you should confirm this by double-checking your existing policy; don’t make assumptions, and if you have any questions, you should direct them to your insurance provider. In some cases, you may need to specify cycling as a named peril in order to qualify for coverage, and your insurer will advise you if this is the case.
As a cyclist, you should also be aware that you may be entitled to compensation through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, providing insurance in Calgary if you are injured by an unidentified motorist or third party while riding your bicycle. You can learn more about the program here.
Personal Insurance in Calgary: Trust Lane’s Insurance for Excellent Coverage, Great Rates and Outstanding Service
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, offering a complete range of insurance products for homeowners, businesses and business owners, drivers, tenants and cyclists. As brokers, Lane’s Insurance representatives work for you, so you can rest assured that we are always working to protect your best interests.