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Three club cyclists ridng on a country road
The club pays over $6 per club member for the club’s General Liability insurance policy annually.

The Western PA Bicycle Club (Wheelmen) joins with over 560 other clubs annually via the League of American Bicyclists in a pooled insurance buy of general liability insurance. General liability insurance provides insurance from third-party liability claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury. Examples include:

Bodily Injury:

  • Cyclist strikes person walking on trail
  • Cyclist crashes due to road conditions
  • Cyclist struck by a vehicle

Property damage liability:

  • Cyclist strikes and damages a parked car.

The insurance covers club members and first-time invited guests. Our insurance company encourages us to get waivers from all participants. We get waivers from members when they renew with the club (there is a check box on the online form). The main reason we use paper waivers is to collect a waiver from non-members. (Other than for insurance, the paper waiver helps the ride leader know who is on the ride).

As to what constitutes a club ride for insurances, our club policy is that:

  • The ride is posted on our ride calendar in advance of the ride and is identified as our ride (as opposed to a third party ride).
  • The ride has an identified ride leader that is a club member.
  • The ride is not sanctioned by RUSA or ACP (i.e. sanctioned randonneuring events).

In a separate policy, our club requires ride participants to wear helmets.

Various notes on how the insurance works:

  • Sanctioned randonneuring events have different insurance. Riders on sanctioned randonneuring events are not covered by insurance. The RBA and the club are. The club pays $5 to RUSA for every starting rider on every sanctioned randonneuring event.
  • For mountain bike activities, a waiver must be signed prior to each activity. Currently, this should be with paper waivers.
  • Coverage covers Class 1 and Class 3 electric bikes. Class 2 bikes (bikes that can be controlled throttle only are excluded).
  • While our insurance does not cover head-to-head racing, it can cover time trials on closed courses.
  • Special events are rides that are open to the general public AND charge a fee for participation. For special events, we are charged more than $9 PER RIDER PER EVENT.
  • Note that our club picnics when we collect new memberships at the start of the day are not special events.
  • For club-member only events, we can still charge fees to cover costs, such as to cover food costs or transport of bicycles for an away trip or motel rooms for an away trip).

In most cases, any injuries are covered by insurance that people already have – their medical insurance or their vehicle insurance. Beyond that, the club insurance accident medical limit is $10,000 per person per incident, with a deductible, and excess of other valid and collectable insurance. This makes the club insurance an insurance of last resort.

The way the national pool works is that most clubs never see a claim. However, there typically are a few sad situations that turn into expensive claims somewhere in the country. While no insurance company will insure a single club at the rates we get, we get those rates by pooling with over 500 other clubs.

The club also participates in an excess medical policy for participants that are club members. Normally, a person’s medical policy or vehicle policy covers the medical costs of an incident.  This policy may only come into play after these insurances come into play.  That is, it mostly comes into play either if the participant (a) has no other insurance, or (b) something really unusual and horrible happened.   

Whenever there is an incident on a ride, the club files an incident report with our insurance company, identifying who was involved, what happened, and witnesses. That is usually the end of it. Over the entire history of the club, neither insurance policy have been invoked.

Posted January 22, 2022

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Western Pennsylvania Bicycle Club (Wheelmen)
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