E-bike riders in the bike capital of the world appear to be getting taken for a ride by a major insurance company.
Electrek reports that The Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), the Netherlands’ largest cycling association, will no longer insure fat tire bikes due to their inordinately high chance of theft.
The Netherlands is considered the bike capital of the world due to the large number of people who cycle there and its bike-first legislation and design. There are more bikes than people in the country, which leads to more bikes on the roads than cars.
As the Earth heats up and more people look to reduce their contribution to the pollution causing it, e-bike sales have significantly risen, and easy-to-ride fat tire e-bikes have become especially popular.
The issue is that they’re popular with thieves, too. Electrek reports that the ANWB said, “In Amsterdam, the chance of your fat bike being stolen is 90%.” The ANWB says damages on these bikes, of which it insures 10,000, have risen to 800 percent of the premiums. To stop insurance from skyrocketing, ANWB decided to stop insuring them.
Why is this concerning?
While this currently affects only riders in the Netherlands, it is a trend that could easily spread to the U.S. and other areas if there is a similar theft rate.
Finding ways to get people to move away from driving gas-powered vehicles is crucial to stopping the rapid overheating of our planet. Transportation accounts for more than 16 percent of annual global carbon pollution, and passenger cars produce around 3.5 billion tons of pollution.
Many people who don’t want to ride a traditional bike as their primary mode of transportation see e-bikes as a better option, but if there is too much risk of theft and no protection if it does happen, the desire for one will likely go down.
One commenter on the article pointed out a bigger issue involving the manufacturing of the bikes: “Until electric bike manufacturers start getting serious about mitigating theft (e.g. embedded tracking systems, effective integrated alarm systems, self-locking wheels/brakes, robust integrated locking cables, etc.) they will have a hard time gaining traction with people like myself who don’t want to spend $2,000 to see it taken away.”
What can you do to protect your bike?
While you may find yourself in a similar situation and unable to insure your e-bike, you shouldn’t let it stop you from making the switch.
You can protect your bike from theft by storing it inside, getting an extra lock or two, or installing a tracker on your bike in case it does get stolen.
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