Insurer launches policy for cyclists, users of mobility devices

Last year, 17 cyclists or their pillion riders were killed, up from 15 each in 2014 and 2013. There were also 590 cyclists hurt in accidents last year, up from 503 in 2014.
Last year, 17 cyclists or their pillion riders were killed, up from 15 each in 2014 and 2013. There were also 590 cyclists hurt in accidents last year, up from 503 in 2014.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Besides coverage for disability, accidental death, medical expenses, policy will also cover third-party liability

The new sets of wheels increasingly making their way to Singapore's roads now have comprehensive insurance cover.

NTUC Income yesterday unveiled a new accident insurance plan geared towards cyclists and users of other personal mobility devices (PMD) such as electric scooters and hoverboards.

Besides covering users for accidental death, permanent disability, and medical expenses for injuries, the policy will also cover third-party liability.

This means up to $1 million in coverage for paying damages against third-party claims due to accidental injuries or damage of property. The policy will be available from next Monday and costs $96 a year.

Last week, the Government accepted the recommendations of an expert panel to boost active mobility, which includes allowing cyclists and PMDs on pavements.

The rules are expected to be implemented by the end of the year.

Mr Derek Teo, chief executive of the General Insurance Association of Singapore, said: "People will become more aware of their rights in the use of public pathways." He said PMDs could pose a danger to third- party users of public pathways, as well as the users themselves.

The number of deaths and injuries involving cyclists is rising. Statistics from the Traffic Police showed that there were 17 cyclists or their pillion riders killed in accidents last year, up from 15 each in 2014 and 2013. There were also 590 cyclists injured in accidents last year, a 17 per cent jump from 503 in 2014.

There were also several highly-publicised incidents, including one involving a three-year-old boy being knocked down by a cyclist in the Serangoon Park Connector in January. According to the boy's mother, the cyclist dismounted and apologised, offered $20, then left without leaving a number.

Ms Annie Chua, vice-president for personal lines, NTUC Income, said having third-party liability coverage promotes "responsible cycling and riding" and will go "towards preventing hit-and-run incidences".

Ms Chua also said the plan will cover $200,000 for death or permanent disability, if the accident is caused directly while using the bicycle or PMD. The insured can also claim for medical expenses of up to $2,500 per accident if he seeks medical treatment, provided he pays the first $100 of every claim.

Mr Alfred Chia, chief executive of financial advisory firm SingCapital, said there are a wide range of personal accident policies in the market and activities like cycling are generally covered.

"But personal accident plans typically do not have third-party liability, which is more commonly found in travel and home insurance," said Mr Chia.

Mr Tham Chen Munn, secretary-general of the Safe Cycling Task Force, said it was worth considering NTUC Income's new policy. "While nobody wants to get into a mishap, sometimes shared pavements can be very narrow, increasing the risks of an accident," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'Insurer launches policy for cyclists, users of mobility devices'. Print Edition | Subscribe