A ’90% chance of theft’ causes insurer to cancel plans for one type of e-bike

The Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), the largest cycling association in the Netherlands, has announced that it will no longer insure fat tire bikes due to their extremely high chance of theft.

The Netherlands is seen as the bicycling capital of the world, not just due to the high rate of cycling but also thanks to the country’s bike-first legislation and city design. There are more bicycles than people in the Netherlands, and cycling in cities is much more common than driving cars.

While typical Dutch-style bikes with upright designs and narrow yet large diameter tires have long been the most common type of bicycle in the Netherlands, fat tires have become much more popular as e-bike sales have soared.

The problem is that fat tire e-bikes have also turned into prime targets for bike theft. According to the ANWB, “In Amsterdam, the chance of your fat bike being stolen is 90 percent.”

ANWB currently insures around 10,000 fat tire bikes and claims that the damages for fat tire bikes have risen to 800% of the premiums. In order to prevent bike insurance from also soaring, the decision has been made to no longer insure fat tire bikes. Existing policies will continue through their present term but won’t be renewed.

radrunner fat tire e-bike

I spotted the RadRunner above on a trip to Amsterdam earlier this year, where it was one of just a few fat tire e-bikes among a sea of Dutch bikes. But on a second trip to Amsterdam later in the year, I could already see a higher number of fat tire e-bikes zipping around.

The popularity of plus-size tires in the Netherlands has grown due to the increased usage of e-bikes, which reduces the effort required to pedal those big tires. Another contributing factor is that new helmet laws have recently been imposed on mopeds. But since electric fat tire bikes don’t require helmets, many moped riders are making the switch to fat tire e-bikes.

Many riders, like the two riding on one bike below, now essentially treat fat tire e-bikes much like mopeds. The fact that these e-bikes are often fitted with throttles – an illegal modification in the Netherlands – makes them that much more desirable for those using them like mopeds for a quick way to navigate the city pedal-free.

amsterdam dutch insurance fat tire bikes

Electrek’s Take

While this, of course, only directly impacts our Dutch readers, the trend might be an interesting one to watch. In fact, it speaks to multiple trends. One is the popularity of these moped-style electric bikes that have even managed to penetrate Dutch culture, which has long been staunchly in favor of Dutch bikes. The second is the high desirability of these specific bikes among thieves.

Bike insurance is much less common in North America, though it does exist. Many people can use their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to cover their bike. More worrisome could be just how prevalent that bike theft is turning out to be. A 90% chance of theft is mind-blowing. I’m not sure over what period of time that is considered, but either way, it makes you think about carrying a second lock and throwing a tracker on your bike. I know I’m more careful after my last e-bike was stolen.

via NOS.nl

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