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Bicycle Industry

Does Your Insurance Policy Cover Shop Sponsored Rides?

By Scott Chapin

Weekly shop rides are very common. They are a fantastic way to market your business. You know: invite friends on an organized ride, then they invite their friends, etc., etc. It can have a viral effect, and it’s a great way to grow your clientele and make new friends. And we all know that people prefer to do business with people they like.

But what happens if someone gets injured on a ride sponsored by your shop? Likely, the rider won't sue you. Instead, it is more likely that, if the injury is serious, the spouse, children or parents of the injured rider would sue. Your friendship is with the people you ride with, not their family.

Bicycle helmetSo what liability do you have for their injuries? Believe it or not, by coordinating the route, you open yourself up to being found negligent or liable. A personal injury attorney will try to prove your negligence by posing questions like, "Why did you choose to ride on Hwy. 23, when, clearly, Hwy. 47 has less traffic?" or, "Did you warn the riders that riding Off-Road Trail X is an expert trail?" While these seem to be unfair, this is how the system works.

The sad reality is that people can and do get hurt on these rides. And even more unfortunate is that many individuals react by looking for someone else to blame. We live in a litigious society, and it important to protect yourself from the potential fallout of events like this. Going to trial may be a long shot, but just being confronted with a potential lawsuit can cost thousands, while taking you away from running your business.

Be sure your business is protected. Ask your broker where your shop-sponsored rides are covered under your current policy or policies. Unfortunately few are, so if the broker says you are protected, have them confirm it with the insurance carrier and put it in writing for you.