AAA launches roadside assistance for bicyclists

Broken down bike? Call AAA.

Driver advocacy organization AAA Mid-Atlantic announced Friday it will now provide roadside assistance to bicycle-riding club members who have become stranded.

Starting Friday — Bike to Work Day across the region — the auto club's members will have "bicycle roadside assistance" automatically added to their automobile coverage plans at no extra cost, AAA said.

The service will not include bike repairs, but will include transportation for the member, any accompanying minors and their bicycles — either home or to another safe location with bicycle towing mileage limits, AAA said.

"Extending our roadside service to include bicyclists is a natural extension of who we are as AAA: a roadside assistance provider that helps get people moving safely after a breakdown," said Ragina Cooper-Averella, a AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman, in a statement. "Our bicycle service gives bicyclists the same peace of mind when they travel as we have given motorists for over 100 years."

The service provides for towing up to three miles for basic members, 100 miles for Plus members and 200 miles for Premier members.

There are a few other caveats. The service is for members with a mechanical problem with their bikes, not those suffering from "rider fatigue or physical inability to continue riding," AAA said.

The auto club also will not assist riders who have lost their key to a bike lock or forgotten a lock combination, as the ownership of many bikes "cannot be verified."

Cooper-Averella said AAA members and non-members have increasingly been asking about bike service in recent years, so the move is "adding value" to the AAA brand and made sense for the company.

The service will be available across the entire state.

A bicycle service call will count as one of the four annual service calls that basic AAA members receive.

krector@baltsun.com

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