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Cycling mythbusting: Cyclists don't have insurance edition; Your thoughts on 1x set-ups — are they the future?; 2024 European Capital of Cycling is... Manchester!? Cue the complaints and laughter from local riders; New kit day + more on the live blog

It's beginning to look a lot like... the weekend! Dan Alexander is on live blog duty for you this Friday...
08 December 2023, 08:46
Cycling mythbusting: Cyclists don't have insurance edition

One of the joys of rarely posting on social media is that you can avoid the embarrassment of saying something silly and getting schooled in a stream of correcting replies. Exhibit A:

Now, admittedly you could also avoid the embarrassment by simply avoiding posting anything silly, a situation I'm guessing might be made worse if your username starts with the adjective 'wise'. Anyway, rambling about how to avoid making yourself look silly on the internet over, on with the mythbusting.

Cue streams of people telling this 'wise old elf' about their cycling-related insurance, some included free with home or contents insurance, others obtained for a minimal monthly fee through Cycling UK, free with a magazine subscription, or other low-cost sources. I for one was disappointed to learn that the couple of coins coming out my account every month isn't going towards insurance because... an anonymous person on the internet said cyclists don't have insurance. 

And what infinite wisdom was provided in reply?

Right... 

08 December 2023, 16:40
Esso installs 50 free-to-use bike maintenance stands at petrol stations across the UK
Esso bike maintenance stands (Esso)

Esso has installed free-to-use bike maintenance stands at 50 selected UK petrol stations as part of a 'Thoughtful Driving' campaign aiming to encourage people to reduce car usage and emissions (just not too much, presumably)...

In an advertising feature for the Daily Record, Esso pointed out over half of car journeys in the UK are less than five miles, with a quarter being less than two miles.

"To inspire and help drivers make the switch to cycling" Esso has installed 50 free-to-use bike maintenance stands at some of the fuel company's petrol stations, and they apparently have all the tools for "checking tyre pressures, adjusting brake alignment or simply enabling a quick once-over".

08 December 2023, 15:44
Chris Boardman: Cambridge already leading the country on cycling and walking
Chris Boardman (Active Travel England)

Active Travel England commissioner Chris Boardman has told the BBC of his confidence in the steps Cambridge has, and is continuing to take, to be a safe environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

Visiting the city yesterday to ride part of the Chisholm Trail, a £21 million active travel route, he said cycling and walking are "part of the fabric of the city".

Cycle parking - Cambridge © Simon MacMichael.jpg

"Cambridge is already leading the country," he said. "All of the colleges — you can't bring a car unless you get dispensation — all of the policies and processes in this area makes cycling and walking the easier and logical choice to get around and it's just great to see them building on that legacy.

"When you see parents riding around on cargo bikes with kids you know you're on a winning route."

08 December 2023, 15:22
"I don't care that I'm in the bike lane, just go around me!": Note on car parked in a cycle lane leaves cyclists dumbfounded and angry
08 December 2023, 14:01
Friday Facebook Fancy: Anyone willing to give a poorly treated bicycle a home?

Jo's been doing the lord's work again for us this Friday...

It's had a hard life... 

08 December 2023, 12:35
No prison sentence for drink driver who fled scene after hitting cyclist and then kicked two police officers
08 December 2023, 12:34
08 December 2023, 10:51
2024 European Capital of Cycling is... Manchester!? Cue the complaints and laughter from local riders

Drumroll please... 

Manchester City Council is naturally delighted with the selection, saying: "From the National Cycling Centre, to mile upon mile of new cycleways being built in the city, to Manchester playing host to some of the biggest events in world cycling, it was made clear to all that Manchester was a perfect choice to be named Capital of Cycling."

British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton too saying "the city is leading the way when it comes to helping more people to ride more often", Dame Sarah Storey adding that "it is great to see their progress made on creating safer routes and removing inaccessible barriers so more children and adults can cycle safely – with more to come in 2024".

Away from the polished statements on the council's website, the reaction from some local riders has been more centred around trying to work out if they've been the victims of an elaborate prank or if someone pressed the button on next year's April Fools a few months early...

"2124 would be a more realistic year," one response to the council set the tone. In other news...

No, really...

Another local rider told the council: "You can't even maintain the existing cycling infrastructure. Vast swathes of the Oxford Rd\Wilmslow Road cycle lanes are regularly flooded. This has been a constant problem since installation yet you have done nothing about it. Do Better."

Fair? We'll leave it to you Manchester-based live blog commenters to decide...

08 December 2023, 10:50
New kit day: Bahrain Victorious go very white for 2024
08 December 2023, 10:09
POLL: 1x? Yay or nay?

QuizMaker

Because there's nothing like a simple yes or no poll to decide a complex, nuanced discussion...

08 December 2023, 09:53
Your thoughts on 1x set-ups — are they the future?
2023 1x Sram Red AXS aero chainring

As you'll have seen on the story and video below, Jamie has been getting stuck into 1x vs 2x this week, putting together a feature asking if a single front chainring is the future of cycling? Or just another marketing fad? Here's what you lot reckon...

In a nutshell...

Would anyone like to expand on that?

Jamie points out, "In reality, 1x is not a perfect solution to road bike gearing, but then neither is 2x. On that setup, you're lugging around six or so gears which aren't even useful to you – and at least with 1x every gear on the cassette is useful!"

1x comment

D-Squared: "After watching the pros, I might be wondering if single chainrings are the future... or I might remember that pros have mechanics to switch chain rings (and cassettes) to suit each stage profile."

wtjs: "I won't be changing to 1x, and I won't be moving to Classified, even if the cassettes no longer cost £100s each. I still have a triple on my 'racer' but that's used less than 10 per cent of the time. I use the Vitus Gravel — and that's not only because the cable disc brakes are so much better."

Bloody hell, don't mention brakes, we've already got one divisive tech topic for today...

ErnieC: "To each their own. I'm still in 2 x10 and 2 x 11 so not in a position to comment on 1x but not changing my set-ups any time soon." 

festina: "I run a 1*10 set-up on my road bike. I love the simplicity and the range of gears isn't that different, so many duplicates in 2* and 3* systems anyway."

Miller: "I put Campag Ekar on a bike for this year and I've done a lot of road riding on it. Ekar is 1x13 and I have it set up as 40 x 9-42. It works very well for road. I could maybe do with an intermediate sprocket for riding at about 30km/h but that's being really picky. For me 1x is not a revolutionary advance but it's pleasingly uncomplicated and makes washing your bike around the bottom bracket much easier!"

marmotte27: "Marketing fad."

philsinclair: "With 50/34 and 34/11, commonly used and needed where I live. The argument falls apart for a 1x."

08 December 2023, 09:36
1x vs 2x: Are single chainring set-ups the future of road cycling or just another marketing fad?

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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48 comments

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chrisonabike | 2 months ago
3 likes
Chris Boardman wrote:

When you see parents riding around on cargo bikes with kids you know you're on a winning route.

... but when you see kids of primary school age cycling to school with their friends, side-by-side, or families riding together to or from places with even younger kids *on their own bikes*, you know you've started to get to the right environment.

https://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/cycling-in-the-n...

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

Hopefully a news item on this one

https://www.essex.police.uk/news/essex/news/news/2023/december/epping-ra...

"The driver, Harry Downer, then 20, of no fixed abode, then stopped the vehicle in front of the group and racially abused the cyclists before reversing at the group causing injuries to the victims and damage to the bicycles.

The driver then left the scene before returning a few minutes later and racially abusing them again."

 

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 months ago
1 like

Regarding Esso petrol station work stands; I don't want to sound cycnical but I imagine they are placed in a dark, dirty, dingy, litter strewn part of the forecourt - so as not to get in the way of any motor vehicles. 

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chrisonabike replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 months ago
2 likes

I'm a bit cynical about any unattended communal-use stuff - in my experience people value things mostly by what they contribute towards them, and secondarily what they can get from them. So free stuff outside that few people currently have a use for? That's getting trashed, or at best not maintained.

Having said that I've seen one and it didn't look too shabby currently.

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chrisonabike replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
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...Apart from being installed sideways obvs (phone camera...)

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Born_peddling | 2 months ago
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MCR cycle euro capital???? Have had to read this article very carefully and repeatedly.... I know a good swath of Manchester locals and lovers of the city can't really believe this one there's zero continuity across the city for cycle infrastructure the lobby gobbler mayor (correct term of anyone originating from Leigh) has trashed cycling as we knew it pretty much conscripting the police to only responding to bike hire crimes in the city where as outside the city they're more concentrated on public transport harmony. Then there's the clueless delivery riders (have only spoke to 6 who actually knew what they're supposed to be doing on the road because of that lil' certificate we all got around 10 yrs old)

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mark1a | 2 months ago
0 likes

Insurance - I'm paying about £40ish a month (varies slightly due to Laka business model) for theft cover on 5 of my bikes. It used to be a lot more than that until I took off accidental damage (figured that if non-fault I'll claim from 3rd party, if my fault I'll suck it up). The other 5 (6 if I include the static trainer, they see that as gym equipment, not a bike) are on house policy as their individual values means they will include them. Any 3rd party liability covered with Laka Club and/or CUK membership.

I might revisit this in the new year, but short of a "self-insure" on the theft I can't really see what else I could do. 

I'd be interested to know what others do for theft cover...

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ktache | 2 months ago
1 like

I realise it's just a bit of green washing, but good enough from Esso and the bike repair stations.

Last time I rode out to Velo Life down the NCN4 from Reading, just a bit out, found in a business park, next to the redundant Readibike stands a repair station with tools still on the ends of cables. Didn't need it, just nice to see.

Just having a pump for general use is a fine thing, quite amazing how many people out there who don't have a pump. You know, normal people who lack tyre pressure obsession...

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mark1a replied to ktache | 2 months ago
2 likes

ktache wrote:

You know, normal people who lack tyre pressure obsession...

Normal? 😳🤔

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Born_peddling | 2 months ago
0 likes

Re: cycle insurance.... there's some fantastic groups out there offering quite reasonable rates I went with eta as I'm a carer my own is about £60 (went for optional extras as it's an ebike) but one of my neighbors pays a very modest £24 a year same insurer. It is worth researching and I've found most insurers to be more transparent vs trying to get car insurance. It's drivers that don't realize the totality of things make & model, where you live what's your occupation all the above can add double digit percentages on to your quote and final pay. Perfect example there's a brand new mustang parked near where I live and the driver moans about their insurance but refuses to park on their drive ...... In case they scratch it parking it 🤣

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Clem Fandango | 2 months ago
9 likes

The assumption that cyclists don't have insurance, to me, tells you a lot about the attitude of most drivers. If car insurance wasn't compulsory, they wouldn't buy it. Ergo, bicycle insurance isn't compulsory hence none of the lycra brigade have it.

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antigee | 2 months ago
5 likes

Like many cyclists I have cover through a membership...point I make when challenged on this issue is that it costs FA and a lot less because cyclists aren't the people that injure others or despite what many drivers claim damage their cars every day

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andystow replied to antigee | 2 months ago
4 likes

antigee wrote:

Like many cyclists I have cover through a membership...point I make when challenged on this issue is that it costs FA and a lot less because cyclists aren't the people that injure others or despite what many drivers claim damage their cars every day

Just look at the Car crashes into building... thread in the forum and try to imagine a cyclist causing that sort of damage. You'd have to hit a building at over 200 MPH while riding a Pashley!

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antigee replied to andystow | 2 months ago
2 likes

I have considered starting a "a cyclist did that..." thread...to feature the random acts of damage cyclists do to street furniture..

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stonojnr | 2 months ago
0 likes

Fwiw on the insurance thing, haven't there been rumours that costs are starting to go up alot ? As they have across all insurance costs lately.

But I believe British Cycling have been looking at ways to cut their costs of providing membership with free insurance lately, and one of the ways would be to drop the free insurance on the Ride/Commute bands, its already missing on the fan level, and offer a discounted separate rate insurance on top of the membership fee.

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wycombewheeler replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
3 likes

stonojnr wrote:

Fwiw on the insurance thing, haven't there been rumours that costs are starting to go up alot ? As they have across all insurance costs lately. But I believe British Cycling have been looking at ways to cut their costs of providing membership with free insurance lately, and one of the ways would be to drop the free insurance on the Ride/Commute bands, its already missing on the fan level, and offer a discounted separate rate insurance on top of the membership fee.

I would have thaught the principle reason for obtaining commute membership was for the insurance. The can try cutting it, but likely the only people continuining with commute insurance will be those that didn't realise insurance was removed, so it seems a little fraudulent.

https://laka.co/gb/club

£1.50 a month for 3rd party liability insurance.

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stonojnr replied to wycombewheeler | 2 months ago
0 likes

There are lots of ways they can slice it up to give people what band of membership they want.

Just passing on a rumour I heard that the free insurance add on at current sub prices, isn't sustainable anymore.

So whilst it's still cheap compared to motor vehicle insurance the days of it's so cheap they'll just give it away might be over.

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Adam Sutton replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
1 like

I wonder if at all linked to the rising cost of motor insurance that is currently being blamed on the high cost of repairing EV's, since I would expect a number of claims would be linked to damage of vehicles.

Out of curiousity I ran a quote on our car a couple of months back after reading this, and it was coming out over £200 more than the last renewal. That is for a 2021 petrol vehicle with two drivers both with full no claims.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 2 months ago
1 like

Adam Sutton wrote:

I wonder if at all linked to the rising cost of motor insurance that is currently being blamed on the high cost of repairing EV's, since I would expect a number of claims would be linked to damage of vehicles.

Possibly, though I'd expect the insurance companies to figure out the extra costs and make the EV insurance more expensive as otherwise they become uncompetitive with the insurers that do figure that out. It would probably go quite badly for them as they'd be seen as a cheap EV insurer and thus end up with a greater proportion of EV claims which would then make their underwriter unhappy, whilst simultaneously losing ICE insurance customers.

Tesla launched its own car insurance as a response to sky-high EV insurance prices, but I don't think their customer service is any good.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/tesla-insurance/

It does make some sense for manufacturers to run insurance for their own vehicles as they can source the replacement parts at cost and it produces a nice feedback loop that encourages them to make their vehicles easier to repair and hopefully less likely to crash (e.g. they'd have an incentive to not ship vehicles with substandard brakes). With EVs, there's the double whammy of the vehicles having expensive repairs and their increased weight causes more crash damage.

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
0 likes

The issue is really about another vehicle (your vehicle) damaging an EV though.

I am sure I have read that Tesla have issues with repairs as they do everything in house, so obtaining parts can be a lengthy wait. That would potentially incur long duration hire cars costs.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 2 months ago
0 likes

Adam Sutton wrote:

The issue is really about another vehicle (your vehicle) damaging an EV though.

I am sure I have read that Tesla have issues with repairs as they do everything in house, so obtaining parts can be a lengthy wait. That would potentially incur long duration hire cars costs.

I would guess that the premiums are largely based upon the vehicle being insured though I don't have any car insurance experience. But yes, if the average crash repair costs go up then insurance premiums will have to increase as well.

I would have thought that Tesla having parts produced by themselves would make it easier for them to source parts, but never understimate Musk's mismanagement skills.

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:

I would guess that the premiums are largely based upon the vehicle being insured though I don't have any car insurance experience. But yes, if the average crash repair costs go up then insurance premiums will have to increase as well.

I would have thought that Tesla having parts produced by themselves would make it easier for them to source parts, but never understimate Musk's mismanagement skills.

For the most part it is your vehicle, its value, performance etc will affect its insurance band. Outside factors will always affect everyone though, just as the cost of insurance companies dealing with claims where the other party had no insurance has increased premiums in the past. If the cost of claims in general has increased due to the cost of repairing the vehicles then that will impact premiums as a whole.

The motor industry has merged by and large. I own an Alfa and that is now part of Stellantis who own a number of other brands. As such many components are shared, and many other components bought in and uses across all brands, so are easier to source/more numerous than something Tesla has to make in house for a model 3, where the priority will be getting them off the production line.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 2 months ago
0 likes

Adam Sutton wrote:

The motor industry has merged by and large. I own an Alfa and that is now part of Stellantis who own a number of other brands. As such many components are shared, and many other components bought in and uses across all brands, so are easier to source/more numerous than something Tesla has to make in house for a model 3, where the priority will be getting them off the production line.

That's a good point about Tesla's priority being to sell their cars rather than repairing them, but if I were trying to organise factory production, I'd use the crash/repair data to produce extra supply of the most commonly required items (e.g. door panels and WING mirrors). I guess it depends on how much it costs them to produce and store those parts versus how much of a problem is it to annoy their customers after they've already handed over their money.

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armb replied to hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
5 likes

If accident repair to EVs costs more on average (because structural damage that would have been economic to repair on a ICE car won't be if a battery pack is damaged, and battery packs often fill much of the base of the car), then third party insurance will go up for all vehicles as the number of EVs on the road increases, because you might hit one.
Still small compared with the worst case "lifetime medical care or compensation for death" costs that are the reason for compulsory third party motor vehicle insurance.

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hawkinspeter replied to armb | 2 months ago
0 likes

armb wrote:

If accident repair to EVs costs more on average (because structural damage that would have been economic to repair on a ICE car won't be if a battery pack is damaged, and battery packs often fill much of the base of the car), then third party insurance will go up for all vehicles as the number of EVs on the road increases, because you might hit one. Still small compared with the worst case "lifetime medical care or compensation for death" costs that are the reason for compulsory third party motor vehicle insurance.

I hadn't really thought about that, but yes, if the average repair cost of vehicles increases, then it's natural for car insurance premiums to increase. However, aren't car insurance premiums heavily dependant on the type of vehicle that you're insuring? Presumably, most claims involve the insured's own vehicle so that would likely have a big impact(!)

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stonojnr replied to Adam Sutton | 2 months ago
0 likes

Could well be, the insurance industry is there to make a profit, the more money they pay out, for whatever reason, the more money they have to raise from other sources.

Cycle insurance you would think is an area they've not maximised their returns on yet.

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Brauchsel replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
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It's not a very profitable business, in terms of margin. There are a lot of players in the market and very little to differentiate any insurer's product from another, so they have to compete on price (for the sectors they want to be competitive in). 

I think a lot of the rising costs may be due to the cost of the capital reserves insurers are required to hold, rather than the expected payouts. They're highly regulated, and also institutional shareholders don't like to invest in insurers who look like they might be short of funds. Rising gilt yields as we leave the near-zero interest-rate world will affect those capital reserves, and I know that many life insurers are getting a bit worried about what they can actually invest their capital in at the moment. 

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andystow replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
3 likes

In the USA my insurer, State Farm, is nominally member owned, so I get a financial statement every year. They take in far less in premiums than they pay out in claims. The balance plus their profits comes from investment income.

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cyclisto | 2 months ago
1 like

I will happily pay cycling insurance, when pedestrians start paying them too and all being analog to the total damages caused by each traffic group, motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

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Adam Sutton replied to cyclisto | 2 months ago
2 likes

Accidents happen. For the sake of peace of mind given I commute by bike, and cycle a fair bit in reasonably heavy traffic I would rather know I am covered if something does happen.

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