How Your Car Insurance Can Help You In A Bike Crash

Cyclists are vulnerable road users, they use roads similarly to motor vehicles, with the crucial difference that cyclists are not enclosed in a protective shell, like drivers. This leaves cyclists at risk of serious injury when sharing roads with careless drivers. Unlike drivers, there is no state requirement that cyclists carry insurance, however there are several ways motor vehicle liability insurance may apply to collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles. One thing cyclists can do for peace of mind is understand their own motor vehicle liability policy (if they have one), and which parts may apply in the event they are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle.


The first portion of a motor vehicle liability policy that cyclists should be familiar with is personal injury protection (“PIP”). Under Oregon law, all motor vehicle liability policies must include PIP benefits to the insured, members of their family residing in the same household, passengers occupying the vehicle and pedestrians struck by the vehicle. ORS 742.520, ORS 742.518(6).

PIP is no-fault insurance which covers medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and loss of essential services (with certain limitations).  ORS 742.520(3). Oregon law requires motor vehicle liability policies include a minimum of $15,000 in PIP benefits. ORS 742.524(1)(a).  However, for what usually only a small increase in monthly premiums, insureds can select policies with significantly higher PIP limits.

A cyclist injured by a negligent driver may be able to use the PIP benefits under their own motor vehicle liability policy (if they have one), under a family member in their household’s policy, or sometimes under the driver’s policy. The insurer is obligated by statute to promptly pay personal injury protection benefits after proof of loss has been submitted. ORS 742.520(5).

For many reasons, it is important for injured cyclists to know their PIP limits and be aware of how much PIP they have used following a collision. Many injured cyclists find it helpful to hire an attorney soon after their collision because good attorneys understand the ins-and-outs of PIP.


Under Oregon Law, drivers are required to have a minimum of $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person. ORS 806.070(2)(a). In many instances, this is where cyclists will recover most of their compensation following a collision caused by a negligent driver. While it sounds like a lot of money to most folks, $25,000, is a relatively small amount given how quickly medical expenses and lost wages can add up.  For cyclists without their own motor vehicle policies, this can lead to under-compensation very quickly, for cyclists with their own motor vehicle policy, this is when underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage comes into play.

Should a negligent driver’s bodily injury limits be inadequate to compensate a cyclist for their injuries, a cyclist may be able to seek additional compensation through their own UIM coverage. UIM is included in all Oregon motor vehicle liability insurance policies. ORS 742.502(2)(a). Unless the insured elects for lower limits in writing, their UIM limits will match their bodily injury limits, with a minimum of $25,000. ORS 742.502(2)(a).


If a cyclist is injured by negligent driver of a vehicle with no collectible insurance, a hit-and-run vehicle, a phantom vehicle, a stolen vehicle, or a vehicle that is owned or operated by a self-insurer who has not complied with applicable regulations, the cyclist may make a claim against the uninsured motorist (“UM”) portion of their own motor vehicle liability policy. ORS 742.504(2)(K)(A)-(E). UM coverage is included in all Oregon motor vehicle policies, again with a $25,000 minimum. ORS 742.502(2)(a).

There are many prerequisites and nuances to UM claims, including in the case of a hit-and-run vehicle, phantom vehicle, or stolen vehicle, a requirement that the injured person, or someone on their behalf, report the accident to a police, peace, or judicial officer, or to the Department of Transportation of the equivalent department in the state where the accident occurred within 72 hours. ORS 742.504(2)(B)(b), (G)(C), (I)(C).

Obtaining compensation following a collision is a long process with many issues that could arise. A good personal injury attorney should be able to help navigate the process so the injured cyclist can focus on getting better.