With the rise in environmental awareness and the need to maintain a healthy body, owning a bicycle has never been more popular. Indeed, according to the latest statistics, there are now over 23 million cycles in the UK, with around 60 per cent of those being used for commuting or professional purposes.
And, with the generally high costs of operating a car, coupled with spiralling fuel costs that are increasingly threatening to empty people's purses, cycling provides a cost-effective method for getting around. There is also, of course, the added benefit of being able to sail past those jammed in the early morning and late evening traffic - much to the annoyance of those stuck in the gridlock!
Alongside the obvious environmental and health benefits, the upsurge in peddling popularity can also be attributed to investment in both cycle lanes and routes. In London, for example, the Government now spends £36 million a year in developing cycling infrastructure. It has also introduced initiatives around the UK, such as its ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme, which has been designed to supply people with tax free bikes and equipment for work, through working with independent bike shops.
However, with the growth in numbers of cyclists, there has also been an increase in the number of both accidents and thefts. Research has shown that there are more than 26,000 accidents each year, with more children being injured from riding bicycles than from any other sport.
Figures from the Department of Transport also show that in 2006, around 2,000 cyclists were involved in serious accidents, while independent research concluded that an average of nearly 500,000 bikes are stolen each year: this equates to around £146 million worth of equipment. Of those stolen, the study found that 89 per cent were taken after being locked up in a public place, whilst 10 per cent were left unlocked in public places and one per cent were stolen from within the victim's property.
It is therefore advisable to ensure that, if you own a bike, you keep it as securely as you possibly can. This can include: using a strong lock; storing it in a protected building, i. e. a house or securely-locked garden shed; marking your postcode on the bike's frame with an ultraviolet pen; and writing down the name, model and serial number of the bike.
Financial experts have additionally recommended that, due to the increasingly opportunistic thieves, the fact bicycles are relatively easy targets and the rise in cycling accidents, it is vital sensible to get insurance to cover against loss or accidental damage.
Arguably the cheapest way to insure your bike is through your home-contents policy. Most insurers will allow you to add cycle insurance to their standard contents cover and by insuring your bike under your home insurance , you can save precious time searching around for separate policies. Generally, you are also covered for any number of eventualities, including theft, vandalism and accidental damage.
Paul McIndoe writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.