Imagine that you are a cyclist walking into your local insurance office to purchase a policy. Because gasoline is pricey and a fast-depleting resource, you have just acquired a bicycle expensive enough to insure and fast enough to be dangerous if you ever lost control of it. “Where do I go for bicycle insurance?” you politely inquire after the dead-eyed girl sitting at the counter when you walk in. She swivels her glassy eyes upward to meet your inquisitive gaze. “What?” she drawls, seeming surprised to see a customer grace the establishment’s threshold. “I want to buy a bicycle insurance policy,” you repeat, unnerved by her lizard stare. “Where do I go?” She chews her cud at you for a minute and five years before finally answering, “We don’t sell bicycle insurance; you have to cover that under homeowner’s or auto insurance.” That doesn’t make sense to you. You knit your brows and ask her to clarify. “There is no bicycle insurance,” she restates slowly. “Anywhere. Ever. You have to cover your bicycle under other policies.”

You gape in disbelief for a moment, then turn around to leave, shaking your head in bewilderment and distaste for the task ahead of you. Just as you are exiting the building, the girl also turns around…presumably to enjoy a good chuckle at your expense. Her manager is laughing, too.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as motorists. They are subject to the same laws, entitled to use of the same routes, and bound to navigate the same weather hazards and frenzies of road construction that all travelers face. Yet, they don’t get their own insurance policies. This complicates matters when an accident occurs, particularly in a no-fault accident or when an at-fault motorist is uninsured or underinsured. Recovering from road havoc is no piece of cake for anyone. For bicyclists, it can be a headache just to know where to start. If you, as a bicyclist, are ever injured in a serious collision with a motor vehicle, you will almost certainly benefit from a bicycle accident lawyer—and this for three reasons.

1. Bicycle insurance is messy.

Utah is a no-fault state. What this means is that your own insurance—usually from your personal injury protection (PIP) policy—must cover the cost of your damages in the event of an accident. Since PIP coverage is a feature of auto insurance, those bicyclists who have no cars (and thus, do not insure any) will have to procure compensation elsewhere—probably from the driver of the automobile. Since even PIP coverage is insufficient in extreme cases, a solid auto insurance policy will not necessarily preclude the necessity of going to court.

Where there is likely to be contention (and this seems inevitable when a bicyclist has been badly hurt and requires substantial remuneration), a bicycle accident lawyer can give you the edge, since they know all the relevant laws and the secrets insurance companies won’t tell you. It is worth speaking to an attorney, even when you’re unsure. Many firms will give free consultations, during which you can find out both whether you need professional advocacy and how to take care of yourself if you don’t.

2. Insurance policies and agents are designed to be slippery.

Without opening Christensen and Hymas Law Firm to a slew of retaliatory lawyer jokes by implying that all insurance agents are amoral swindlers, the above statement is unfortunately accurate. This is not a commentary on the individuals who run insurance companies, merely an acknowledgement of the nature of insurance. When your insurance company sends you a “Have a safe and sane National Jell-o Week!” card, they probably really want you to be safe and sane. When the drawling girl across the counter reads about fatal accidents, she probably becomes sad.

The business, however, is best served when injured parties either don’t know what they are entitled to or have no idea how to obtain it. The business does not have to shell out if you don’t know how to file a claim or if your window expires. The business wants you to have a safe and sane National Jell-o Week because that means they don’t have to return any of what you pay in. Because it is the business that determines whether you get compensated and how much, a bicycle accident lawyer may be what tips the scales in your favor.

3. The likelihood of a bicycle accident resulting from motorist negligence is rather high.

An analysis of New York police reports revealed that some 70% of bicycle/motor vehicle collisions were the fault of the vehicle’s driver. In fact, in the three leading types of automobile/bicycle crashes, automobile drivers failed to yield at intersections, crashed into a bicyclist from behind, or opened doors in front of a bicyclist. Liability often comes into play in the case of a bicycle accident; and, as mentioned, where there is litigation, a bicycle accident lawyer can be the deciding factor between coming out ahead and finding yourself mired in heavy expenses.

The road can be a dangerous place for bicyclists. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, call 801-506-0800, or if you would like to request a free booklet on handling bicycle accident claims, call 1 800 LAW BOOK.