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Ask Oli: Rider insurance

In May, I crashed during a race in North Carolina. It wasn’t terrible, but on account of my knee cap being exposed and me fainting, I was sent off in an ambulance and had some x-rays done.

Crashing is a reality of racing and since usually the rider assumes responsibility for any injury they receive while racing or training, it is expected that all riders will have travel insurance. Really you should also have travel insurance regardless of whether you are racing or not. Well, I certainly thought I had it, so despite asking people around me not to put me in an ambulance and not to take me to the hospital (just in case), I wasn’t actually that worried when I was tossed onto a stretcher.

Anyway, fast forward to the end of August. I return late one night from a five day hike and find a letter in the kitchen addressed to me, and it’s a collection notice from the ambulance and hospital back in North Carolina. The sudden jolt of reality and reminder of a sort of past life, after spending the better part of a week sleeping on beaches on a remote island and staring at campfires and the night sky instead of a screen; it was rude welcome home.

I was staring at a bill for several thousand dollars, and I had planned to register myself for some university courses the following morning.

After a few days my good friend, Jon Watkin, informed me that when purchasing a Cycling BC license, you’re also purchasing insurance. I had no idea and was definitely a bit skeptical. As it turns out, Jones Brown does in fact insure Cycling BC members for accidents that take place during sanctioned events if their existing medical plan won’t cover certain expenses.

This was amazing news. As of this morning, I no longer owe an American hospital thousands of dollars for some band-aids, a fancy ride, and some black and white photographs. In fact, I can go to school instead.

I’m not sure how I missed this and I don’t doubt that many of you already know about the insurance, but just in case, I suggest looking into your provincial cycling association to see what they have to offer. I now know that ManitobaSaskatchewan and Ontario are part of Cycling Canada’s National Insurance Program provided by Holman Insurance Brokers. I’m guessing that most provinces are. It appears to me that the insurance provided in this plan is more or less the same as what I received from Jones Brown.

Now that I’ve researched it a little bit, I realize that I was quite ignorant. I’m so happy to see this sort of support for cyclists. I was always under the impression that there wasn’t any support like this, and that’s my bad. I feel very fortunate to have received coverage and hope that everyone is aware of what we have access to.

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