BERN, SWITZERLAND – The 2011 bicycle license, in reality a form of third-party insurance, will be the last, with the Swiss parliament approving a shift to coverage being included in responsabilité civile, or general third-party insurance coverage. The change goes into effect 1 January 2012, although this year’s licenses, which must be displayed by 31 May, are valid until 31 May 2012.
RC insurance, as it is popularly known, is mandatory in Switzerland but just under 10 percent of residents do not have it, and the government intends to step up a campaign to inform those without it of the risk they run.
The insurance covers damage caused to another person or property and includes accidents such as footballs kicked through neighbours’ windows and more serious and expensive injuries caused to other people.
A bicycle rider who causes an accident has until now been covered by the annual tax, and the license, which must be displayed on the bike, is proof of the insurance policy.
The change affects any “vehicles” that are now required to have bicycle licenses, but it takes into consideration regulations passed last week that affect electric bikes. Less powerful electric bikes and low-speed electronic wheelchairs, for example, will no longer need licenses, but the owners must have RC insurance.