Posted by Mark Hambleton, Partner
Tips on legal cover for foreign cycling holidays
Cycling holidays are becoming increasingly popular. Having recently cycled from Bath to Paris in three days, I know how enjoyable it is to ride through a foreign country and experience a different cycling culture.
If you are thinking about doing a charity event on the continent, a summer cycling holiday or maybe even riding out to watch a professional race, then I’m sure you will have an amazing time. But before you go, it is important to understand how your rights may change the moment your wheels touch foreign ground.
So here are a few important things to consider before going on a foreign cycling holiday that I have picked up as both a passionate cyclist, and as a solicitor who specialises in cycling claims.
Call your insurer
Before the Paris ride I contacted my travel insurer to see if I was covered. As a regular cyclist, I was confident that I would be insured against any injuries or equipment damage that I might suffer in France; however, it was not that straight forward.
My insurer told me that I would not be covered for such losses as the purpose of my trip was for ‘cycle touring’ rather than ‘short journeys on a bike’ that were ‘incidental to a leisure or sightseeing holiday’. In this case the insurer drew the distinction between a cycling holiday and a holiday where you may or may not hire or ride a bike.
However, for less than ten pounds I took out a specific cycle touring policy that covered me in the event of a bike accident, theft etc. The policy covered expenses such as; medical treatment, damage to my bike, damage to my clothing and helmet. Considering the value of all my kit, (and my physical health) this gave me some piece of mind.
Check your insurer’s accreditation
One thing to double check is that your insurance provider is recognised abroad. Unfortunately a friend had a cycling accident while abroad only to find that his insurance cover was not accepted by the overseas hospital because the insurer’s accreditation was not “recognised”.
I have to admit that in the past I have not checked that my insurer’s accreditation would be widely accepted abroad, but I do now. There are many insurance websites that offer impartial information, as well as forums. Spend a little time doing some research, ask for recommendations, or purchase through an insurer that is recognised internationally.
Understand what is covered
I would also recommend checking the terms of your policy to be clear about whether your bike, helmet and kit will be replaced on a new for old basis, or on the basis that you will receive the market value for the items.
My bike is insured (in England) as an add-on to my home insurance policy, but this may not necessarily be the case for everybody. You should find out whether your bike is covered away from your home, in a foreign country especially if it was stolen or vandalised while abroad. It is really worth your time to check these details out, and it can usually be achieved with a short phone call.
Carry copies and keep your EHIC close
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) guarantees you the right to receive state-provided healthcare in a European country, at the same cost as a resident of that country. It does not guarantee free health care, and should not be considered as an alternative to travel insurance. It is important to keep the card with you at all times as it should be presented as soon as possible should you require treatment.
You might also want to carry copies of your ID, passport and insurance documents with you while you are cycling. In a medical emergency you do not want to delay treatment and in some countries not having access to the necessary information, or proof of cover may prolong what can be a very traumatic experience.
What to do after a collision or crash?
If you or one of your party is injured as a result of a road traffic incident or dangerous road surface, then the most important thing is to ensure their immediate safety. However, a good rule to follow would be to behave as if you were cycling in the UK.
This means seeking contact details, registration plates, and where possible insurance details. It may also be a good idea to take photographic evidence, as long as it is safe to do so.
If you feel your accident was the fault of a motorist who knocked you off your bike for example, you should wait until you return home before taking advice from a solicitor practising in England and Wales. This applies whether or not you were on a package holiday at the time of the accident.
We are experienced in advising on the best approach to take in bringing personal injury claims for accidents abroad.
Read more posts on your legal rights as a cyclist >
Mark Hambleton is a specialist personal injury lawyer and a keen cyclist – in his own words, “solicitor and cyclist in equal measure.” He has cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 9 days and completed the Bike Bath challenge. Not to mention that he also cycles to work every day - 29 miles round trip! Mark is a keen advocate of cyclists’ safety and regularly speaks up on safety-related matters. Contact Mark now for specialist advice on your cycling injury claim.
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