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Car vs Bike: What you should know

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

It's a sunny Saturday, almost 50 degrees in February, and I'm riding the dams. Me and about 100 of my new best friends: other cyclists, runners, and cars. As I take a quick look over my shoulder to go around another runner, I glimpse a car way back in the corner of my eye and take the lane anyway. As expected, this is a nice car, one out for an easy Saturday drive and enjoying the lake, but I realize there is a lot of trust between me and this car and all the other cars I'll see today, they in their several ton metal beasts, and me with myself and a 300 gram helmet for protection.

I've never been hit by a car that I remember.

My worst bike vs car accident left me with a concussion such that I don't remember anything an hour before or 2 hours after, so I have no idea whose fault that was. Prior to that, *I* had run into the back of a car because I thought they were turning and I, with my sister's old 10 speed with just one brake, drifted right into the back of it. But the more you ride, the more it becomes not a question of if, but when? And what are your rights if you do get hit by a car? Out of curiosity, I reached out to Sara Stieben of Hadfield, Stieben and Doutt to see if she had any articles about what to know if you have a car vs bike incident. She replied with this great information to help understand how your insurance can help you in an accident, especially one with an uninsured or underinsured motorist:

Did you know you may have insurance coverage through your car insurance for times when you are injured on your bicycle as a result of another person’s negligence?

if you are hit by a car while riding your bicycle, two important coverages on your car insurance can protect you.

The first of these is Medical Payments Coverage – otherwise known as Med-Pay. This is typically extra insurance that you purchase along with your car’s liability insurance. Med-Pay will cover medical bills caused by an accident. These medical bills are submitted to your car insurance company, which usually pays the medical providers directly. Insurance companies are required by Colorado law to offer at least $5,000 in Med-Pay coverage when liability insurance is purchased. Most Med-Pay policies that we see are in the amount of $5,000, but they range from $1,000 to $100,000 depending on the policy. Importantly, if an automobile negligently hits a cyclist, the cyclist’s Med-Pay coverage will help pay for their medical expenses.

The second of these is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage, also called UM / UIM Coverage. This is insurance coverage that you purchase to protect yourself from being in an accident with someone who has no insurance, or only very little insurance. UM / UIM Coverage is especially important in Colorado, where some liability policies only total $25,000 and there are many uninsured motorists. The amount of UM / UIM coverage can range from $25,000 to over $300,000, and it must be offered to purchasers of liability insurance. UM / UIM typically works as follows: if a motorist with only $25,000 in insurance coverage causes you $50,000 in medical expenses, then you would first collect the $25,000 from the at-fault motorist. Once those funds were collected, you would then submit a claim under your UM / UIM coverage for the rest of your damages. Once again, if an automobile negligently hits a cyclist, the cyclist’s UM / UIM coverage will help pay for their damages.

There ya go! If you ride the road, it might be a good time to check your auto insurance and see what kind of coverages you have so you know even if you get into an accident, you'll be taken care of.

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