Question: Serious Simone was riding her fixie along a busy street and the next thing she knew she was thrown across Max’s lap and her bike was embedded in the door of his big old caddy. Max had opened
the door without looking and collected a new door ornament. BC’s motor vehicle act says that cyclists have the same rights and duties as drivers of motor vehicles. So why don’t cyclists need insurance from ICBC like Max?
Answer: Too bad Simone got the door prize. The short answer is because the risk to the public from cyclists like Simone is too low for governments to mandate liability insurance. Switzerland used to require liability insurance for cyclists but dropped the requirement last year — and if that doesn’t tell you the public risk is low nothing will. To put the issue in context, in 2011 in BC 260,000 crashes were recorded by ICBC and only 1,300 involved a cyclist. We expect the cyclists “lost” almost all of those collisions with motor vehicles. In BC the motor vehicle act specifies that motor vehicles and trailers require ICBC insurance, but not bicycles.
Canada-wide 2,227 people were killed by motor vehicles in 2010, while another 11,226 were seriously injured. We haven’t been able to find how many people are killed and injured by cyclists in Canada, but in 2007 in the UK, cyclists caused 4 pedestrian deaths and 48 serious injuries.
Even so, who pays in a collision where an overconfident cyclist, texting on a cell phone, sails through an intersection on a red light and runs into a brand new car damaging the paint? When the cyclist is at fault and damages a car, the car driver’s underinsured motorist protection kicks in to protect the car and driver.
But, maybe you are concerned about damages to the cycli
st (we hope so)? Most damaged cyclists can rely on ICBC for payments — especially if you own an insured vehicle. Pedal Pushers recommend purchasing excess underinsured motorist protection which is available from ICBC to anyone with a valid BC driver’s license even if you don’t own a car. If you are a cyclist without a driver’s license, who does not live in a household with somebody who insures a car, you might want to consider private insurance.
We also recommend you check what your home insurance covers and whether additional insurance to cover third-party liability and personal accident is something you need.
Oh and Simone and Max now live happily ever after. Max sold the caddy and they now ride matching bikes — giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “hitting on each other”.
Ride safe, crash-free and insured — just in case, the Pedal Pushers