Freewheeling cyclists are making a costly mistake by not taking out comprehensive insurance if they ride on the roads, warns the Association of British Insurers.
The ABI is urging millions of cyclists to pay for cycling insurance to cover the costs of injuries and accidents on the road.
Cyclists have the same liability to other road users who suffer damage to a vehicle, injury or even lose their lives.
If a cyclist falls off in the path of oncoming traffic, causing another vehicle to swerve and crash or hit a pedestrian, they could face a bill of thousands of pounds and even risk losing their home.
The Motor Insurers Bureau may step in and indemnify other drivers against an uninsured cyclist, but will not cover damage or industry in an accident that does not involve a motor vehicle.
The ABI says the number of cyclists on the roads is up around 20% on a decade ago, while accidents increased 12% in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period 12 months earlier.
Unlike motor vehicle drivers, cyclists do not have to buy compulsory insurance to ride on a road.
Malcolm Tarling, of the ABI, claims responsible cyclists should consider buying personal injury and third-party cover.
A policy costs around £30 to £40 a year and offers third-party and public liability cover that pays claims from other road users. Other cover includes damage to a cycle in an accident and the cost of a replacement cycle if it is stolen or damaged.
“If you are a cyclist and you are involved in an accident the chance of you being injured are quite high,” said Tarling.
“Some 230 cyclists a month are killed or seriously injured on the roads so there is a good chance you are going to be off work for weeks, if not months, so some sort of insurance to cover you for loss of income makes sense.”
“If you are a cyclist and you are involved in an accident and you are at fault for causing it you could be sued for damages.
“Cyclists should always have some form of liability insurance. It is essential.”