As a charity without premises we needed a trailer that would fold away when not in use, so we opted for the XLC cargo trailer, which could be supplied by local bike stores. With the trailer chosen, we needed to ensure our volunteer had appropriate insurance. To cover volunteer cycling our present charity insurance would increase by £265, more than the cost of the trailer! Given that our volunteer was wanting to use the trailer to help other voluntary organisations, we looked into personal bike insurance options.
This turned out to be a major obstacle, so we’ll share the options we found and what we decided. Some years ago most car insurers agreed that people would be covered by their personal car insurance when undertaking unpaid volunteering. This is just as well in view of all the journeys that volunteer drivers do in their own vehicles to support community organisations. But finding a suitable personal insurance product that covers a cyclist while volunteering has proved challenging.
Firstly, we found that volunteering, although unpaid and an occasional activity, is generally considered to be equivalent to commercial courier cycling. Courier cycling premiums are significantly more costly than policies for everyday or even competitive cycling. Secondly, not all bike insurance covers the attachment of a bike trailer. Finally, the cost of bike insurance is associated more with the risk of theft or damage to the bicycle rather than public liability or personal accident, and so it gets very pricey if your volunteer has an expensive bike. In fact, we identified just one company who offered us affordable cover for our purpose. Clearly there is a gap in the insurance market for covering public liability and personal accident risks for cycling volunteers and if this could be fixed it would aid the move to sustainable everyday transport.
Our volunteer will be seeing how many car journeys can be avoided by using the bike cargo trailer. See if you can spot the trailer out and about in the town!