Vancouver, British Columbia — Following a wave of public condemnation after a Vancouver-area cyclist was struck by a vehicle running a red light and asked to pay for its repairs, ICBC has announced major changes to the way claims for passive road users are managed.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia will no longer require pedestrians, cyclists or skateboarders to pay repair costs for an accident they were involved in cases “where a cyclist or pedestrian has suffered a severe or catastrophic injury,” “if there has been a fatality,” or “when ICBC must determine liability as 50/50 because there is not enough evidence to determine what happened.”
As well, the crown corporation will hold reviews through a committee of experts for the claims of moderately-injured passive road users (pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, scooter users) deemed partly or completely responsible for an accident.
This sudden change from ICBC was spurred on by public outrage over a case from March where a Vancouver cyclist was struck and injured by a vehicle that had run a red light. In the days following the incident, Ben Bollinger found an auto repair bill for $3,752.01 in his mail.
“Government and ICBC listened to the concerns raised from cycling advocates and Mr. (Ben) Bollinger about the decision to bill him for vehicle damage after he was involved in a collision,” said B.C.’s minister of public safety, Mike Farnworth, in a statement.
“The previous approach was not reflective of the changes we’ve made to auto insurance in British Columbia and that needed to be fixed.”
According to ICBC spokesman Brent Shearer, the corporation has sent 66 letters since May 2021, asking for money from passive road users who were deemed to be at least partially responsible for an accident.
Shearer said that all those cases were being reviewed, and that ICBC would ultimately be responsible for those costs.
Bolinger called the change a “really good first step” but insisted that more could be done to appropriately compensate passive road users for their injuries.
“As a vulnerable road user who was hit by a car, you are at such a disadvantage right from the get-go,” he said.
“Under the new no-fault and enhanced care system, you no longer have the right to sue. So the only recourse I would have had to dispute liability would be to go to a civil resolution tribunal.
“The announcement doesn’t reference any changes to offering compensation to a pedestrian or cyclist that is hit by a car. We still don’t get that.”
Bollinger’s lawyer, Joel Zanatta, said that he has spoken to eight other cyclists who had been billed by ICBC, including one who paid the corporation $13,000 for damages despite having no recollection of the accident due to a concussion.
I have to accept what I read in the media is fact as presented. When I read the original article it repulsed me. FACT: The vehicle ran a red light. 100% at fault. Why does it take the general public to create an outcry to educate the powers that be at ICBC that the concept of billing the cyclist is beyond ridiculous. As evident in our industry with ICBC, and multiple other insurers, this level of thought isn’t an anomaly. Pease exercise some sense.