Aspen History: Insuring ‘Bicycle Girls’ |

Aspen History: Insuring ‘Bicycle Girls’

Aspen Historical Society
One b/w photograph of a woman on a bicycle posed next to a fence in front of a house. She is kicking one foot forward and is wearing a jaunty hat. 1910 circa

“Bicycle girls not insurable,” declared the Aspen Tribune on Oct. 4, 1896. “The bicycle girl cannot be insured. This is the decree of the accident insurance companies. The reason for this is as odd from a business standpoint as the fact itself. It is because of the frivolity of women; that is, she makes frivolous claims for damages. The accident insurance policy usually calls for payment of $5,000 in case of death, and in case of disability from $7 to $25 a week, according to the extent of the injuries. Scarcely a day passes that feminine bicycle riders do not visit the insurance companies as applicants for policies, but now they are invariably told that they cannot be insured under the rules agreed to by the underwriters. In the early stages of bicycling women were insured, and it was found that claims for trivial or imaginary injuries were made by them so frequently and persistently that the underwriters would be bankrupted if one half of them were paid. So the companies at a joint meeting made a rule that women bicyclists should be debarred from accident policies.” This image shows a woman on a bicycle in the early 1900s.

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