Lone-bicyclistThere’s something ALL cyclists MUST do to protect themselves.

It’s got nothing to do with the typical road safety tips you hear. It’s not enough to practice safe cycling and have the proper equipment. You’ve got to protect yourself and your family financially.

Yes, there is a strong risk for cyclists who don’t realize that their own insurance may be the only coverage they have in the event of a hit-and-run accident. Bicyclists have to check their auto insurance policies to make sure they have enough insurance to protect them.

A recent hit-and-run case in Syracuse serves as a perfect example of why having your own insurance is so critical. The Syracuse Post-Standard covered the accident: “Syracuse police: Bicyclist critically injured in hit-and-run crash.” There is always the possibility that the motorist, after hitting you on your bike, will take off and possibly never be found.

That’s what happened in this case.

In that scenario, your own insurance company will be your only means of recovery. I’ve blogged about this issue before, in the NY Bicycle Accident Blog posts “NY Bicycle Accident Lawyer Explains How to Protect Yourself in a ‘Dooring’ Claim” and especially “SUM Insurance: The Inexpensive and Important Coverage Every Bicyclist Needs to Know About”.

Your auto insurance coverage will NOT be enough to cover your medical bills in the event of a serious injury from a hit and run driver. It’s just not enough – standard policies don’t begin to cover the costs of intensive medical care. In New York, the minimum required coverage is $25,000. In Pennsylvania, it is only $15,000.

That’s why I personally recommend that all my cycling friends purchase a minimum of $250,000 of Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.

SUM covers you (and your family) whether you are injured in your car OR on your bike.

SUM actually doesn’t cost much at all for the amount of protection it provides.

Michael Bersani, an attorney who blogs at the Central New York Injury Lawyer Blog, wrote an great post about this accident and this insurance issue.

The following section is quoted from his post, “Bicyclist Injured By Hit-and-Run Motorist is Entitled to Insurance Coverage.”

“If you are a cyclist, is a good idea to purchase additional SUM coverage.

You can purchase SUM coverage up to a level that matches your liability coverage. So, for example, if you are covered up to $100,000 for injuries you cause to others (called” bodily injury” insurance), you can purchase that same amount in SUM coverage to protect yourself if you get hit by an uninsured (or underinsured) vehicle.

It is a bargain, too — purchasing the additional coverage will raise your premiums by only a few dollars a month, and will provide you will much needed additional protection if you suffer a serious injury through the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver.”

Please, take my advice and Michael’s advice and purchase SUM. We’ve seen what happens when seriously injured cyclists have to rely solely on their own insurance or on the meager funds of an underinsured motorist.

For bicyclists, only a few dollars a month can buy a big chunk of peace of mind.

Thanks for reading and RIDE SAFELY,


James B. Reed, Esq.

NY & PA Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14901
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
Email: jreed@zifflaw.com
Web: www.zifflaw.com
Please visit the New York Injury Law Blog at www.NYInjuryLawBlog.com
E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.