by John Wente
If (heaven forbid) you are involved in an accident while on your bike, will others at the scene be able to identify you if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate? When you get to the hospital, will there be hesitation to treat you due to uncertainties about insurance coverage? If you carry your wallet with your driver’s license and insurance card while cycling, your identification and insurance information problems are solved. But if, like many cyclists, you don’t like to carry your wallet due to its weight and/or size or you just don’t want to get it all sweaty, you need to have the important information in another form. Here are a couple of ideas to avoid potential problems.
There are many types of ID tags you can get commercially to attach to yourself or your bike. These are a good idea, but you can also make your own. Type up the pertinent information–full name, address, home phone number, other emergency phone number if appropriate (perhaps a spouse’s cell phone number), blood type, allergies, medical conditions, etc–on your computer and print it out. Cut out the printed area and laminate it with heavy duty laminating sheets that can be found at Wal-Mart or office supply stores. Punch a hole in the card you’ve created and wear it around your neck on a chain, put it in your jersey pocket, attach it to your bike, etc.
You can also make a miniature version of this information, laminate it and attach it inside your helmet using Shoe Goo or a similar adhesive that remains flexible when dry. This can not only serve to identify you in case of an accident, but might result in your helmet being returned to you should you leave it laying around somewhere.
Make a zerox copy of both sides of the insurance card you carry in your wallet. Cut out the images, place them back to back and laminate. You can wear or attach this along with your ID card.
Author’s solution: When cycling, I carry a small wallet that is for bike use only. This wallet contains a business card with my name, address and phone number, a laminated copy of my insurance card and a couple bucks in case I decide I need a Gatorade or snack during a ride. I keep this wallet inside a zip-lock bag to prevent moisture damage. I also have a miniature laminated name and address card glued inside my helmet, more to prevent loss than for ID purposes.