Bill to cyclist reinforces need for riders to be insured: Advocates

The ICBC invoice is sobering information to plenty of cyclists and reinforces the necessity for avid riders to have some type of insurance coverage, advocates say.

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A yr in the past Derek Wilson had dismounted from his bicycle to make use of the crosswalk on Comeau Lake Street in Coquitlam when a sports activities automobile turning proper hit him, swooping him onto the automobile’s hood and windshield together with his bike on prime of him.

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He was unharmed, however information this week of ICBC billing Vancouver bicycle owner Ben Bolliger for greater than $3,700 for harm to a automobile that hit Bolliger as he cycled by a managed intersection in a motorbike lane gave Wilson pause.

“I used to be simply as astonished as anybody,” the Port Moody resident, quickly to be 74, mentioned. “It was a wake-up name, if I’d smashed by that man’s windshield … why ought to (Bolliger) get an enormous invoice to repair the automobile that hit him?”

The ICBC invoice is sobering information to plenty of cyclists and reinforces the necessity for avid riders to have some type of insurance coverage, advocates say.

“We strongly imagine in case you are an avid bicycle owner and also you’re spending time in your bike that having some type of insurance coverage to cowl you in that exercise is useful and suggested,” mentioned Erin Waugh, CEO of Biking B.C. “Insurance coverage is a giant element of what we provide as a sport group … we expect it’s actually essential.”

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If you happen to be part of Biking B.C. there may be legal responsibility insurance coverage supplied for organized membership occasions, however that insurance coverage wouldn’t cowl a membership member who discovered themselves in Bolliger’s sneakers.

Postmedia Information requested ICBC on Thursday for information relating to the variety of letters comparable to Bolliger acquired which have been despatched out and the way a lot the company has sought to get better from such accidents, however was advised that may take extra time to trace down.

Because the provincial authorities handed laws in early 2020, ICBC has had a no-fault coverage for nearly two years now.

Readers would possibly recall being pleasantly stunned of late to obtain a letter from ICBC and discover inside not payments however rebates — a pair for lowered kilometres pushed due to COVID-19, one other to compensate for decrease charges due to no-fault, which ICBC calls enhanced care.

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No fault insurance coverage is supposed to avoid wasting drivers about 20 per cent on their annual premiums (and save ICBC round $1.5 billion). It additionally means victims might not sue the Crown corp., which suggests it’s onerous to discover a lawyer to signify you for those who really feel wronged.

And it stacks the deck towards cyclists, mentioned Vancouver lawyer Joel Zanatta.

“Utterly stacked,” mentioned Zanatta, whose firm The Biking Lawyer provides authorized and insurance coverage recommendation for cyclists and who’s representing Bolliger on a professional bono foundation. “It’s a struggle on cyclists.

“It seems like I’m talking in hyperbole, however I’m not. It’s insane.”

With the choice of suing ICBC eliminated, injured cyclists are on the mercy of the monopoly insurer, he mentioned.

“They instantly say, ‘If we discover you at fault you’ve acquired to pay,’ after which to make issues worse there may be nowhere to go for those who dispute the fault besides the CRT.”

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The CRT is the Civil Decision Tribunal, created to resolve disputes involving car accidents, small claims, strata property, co-operatives and societies.

“Essentially the most you will get out of that,” Zanatta mentioned, “is your bike paid for.”

No lawyer goes to wish to contact that, he mentioned.

“It’s a joke. I’m the one man doing it and I’m doing it totally free as a result of I’m in a scenario the place I can.

“If I took this case within the previous days, I win it each single time. It’s so rotten.”

And it’s not simply cyclists, however anybody with the appropriate to share the street is in danger, Zanatta mentioned.

“(ICBC) is saying that if you wish to share the street, which is a proper in Canada, you’ve acquired to purchase your personal insurance coverage for it and it’s not a fairly factor. It shouldn’t be obligatory, that’s for certain.

“Are you going to insure each little one on the market? Pedestrians are getting hammered by this. Skateboards, scooters.”

Dad and mom pushing prams?

“Identical factor. The group is named susceptible road-users … all of them have authorized entitlement to make use of the street.”

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