Stranded with your bicycle? Call AAA…or not

AAA Washington recently launched an emergency bicycle service, offering roadside assistance to those stranded with their bicycle.

As of July 1, 2012, Washington cyclists can call the AAA hotline when they run into trouble, and like the emergency road service for motor vehicles, AAA will dispatch a service car to come get them.

The AAA crews won’t fix your bicycle however. Instead, they will transport you and your bicycle to a safe location of your choosing, such as a nearby bike shop or your home.

The transportation distance depends on the mileage covered by the membership plan, ranging between five miles for classic members to 200 miles for premier members.

Washington is the fourth AAA region to offer this service, following British Columbia, Oregon and Idaho.

AAA is yet another company that, while recognizing a need for assistance for bicyclists, has rather limited service. Like most companies, the emergency bicycle service can only be added to an automobile policy. It is not offered as a stand-alone policy for those of us who do not own or drive a car.

Perhaps then, a bicyclist-specific policy might be a better option.

The Portland-based Better World Club, the nation's only environmentally friendly auto club, on the other hand, offers a roadside assistance program for cyclists and can be purchased with or without automobile policy.

They, too, will offer the stranded cyclist a ride to a location of their choosing (within 30 miles) and while they will also offer to bring commonly-available tools (to fix a flat), they will not fix the bike for you.

Additionally, BWC announced last week that it is teaming up with Gales Creek Insurance Services to add comprehensive accident and liability coverage to its bicycle assistance program for a complete insurance package.

And then there is California-based Spoke Bicycle Insurance  which offers a package that not only includes roadside assistance, but also includes bicycle liability coverage for both the insured cyclist as well as other road sharers, bicycle theft coverage, bicycle damage coverage to covers repairs needed due to collisions or unforeseen occurrences, trip interruption coverage. Their insurance is currently only available in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii.