Friday 17 August 2012

Cyclists and third party insurance

Being election time for local government, it's policy silly season. The Tele ran a story today on the Living Sydney candidate and their policy to force cyclists to take out third party insurance.

I'm not against cyclists having insurance - I buy cyclist specific insurance every year that covers the whole family, and I'll continue to do so as long as we're all cycling regularly. You'd be a bloody nong to ride a lot and not be covered by insurance of some sort. If my experience is any guide, the more miles you do, the greater the chance that you'll be coming off - either through your own fault or someone else's.

I haven't had to make a claim on my insurance yet, even though I've been hit twice by motorists. I sued one bloke, and it cost his insurance company a fair whack to cover my medical bills and time off work. I was a bit tougher when the next bloke hit me - I wasn't damaged badly enough to bother with lawyering up. It still cost me a few grand in lost wages and medical expenses, but I figure it's not worth pursuing if it's less than $5,000.

So I believe whole heartedly in insurance.

However, I don't see how they're going to make cyclists travelling through the city prove that they have it. Unless they are thinking of forcing cyclists to get a number plate, which is just whacko. Do they have the power to force cyclists using public roads to register? I think not - that would be a state government prerogative.

By the way, I had a look at the Living Sydney website in order to have a proper read of their detailed policy on this matter. Click on this link to see their policies - I promise you won't be disappointed.

(Hint - there's nothing there - just a typical management wank diagram - the sort dreamed up in strategic planning sessions).

The libertarian streak in me also says that taking out insurance as a cyclist should be a purely voluntary decision. On the whole, cyclists don't do a lot of damage to other road users. They're usually the ones who  come off worse in a collision. Sure, the odd pedestrian gets knocked down once in a blue moon, but does that mean that hundreds of thousands of cyclists must then be forced to do something because of the actions of a few? I haven't hit a pedestrian yet, but that is due more to my vigilance, situational awareness, reactions and sixth sense for pedestrian stupidity than anything else. One day, The Force is going to fail me, and I am going to clock some idiot really hard - of course they'll be texting and not looking as they run across the road against a red light at the time - but that won't make me feel much better as I impact with the concrete.

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