Canadian Underwriter

Auto insurer changes policy on seeking costs from cyclists and pedestrians

May 5, 2022   by Jason Contant

Bicycle lane in downtown Vancouver

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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include information from ICBC.


The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is changing its policy on when it seeks recovery for costs from cyclists and pedestrians who have some responsibility for a crash.

Cyclists, pedestrians and other active transportation users could be charged with damages to a vehicle when they have some responsibility for a crash. But moving forward, ICBC says it will no longer seek recovery for costs in some clearly-defined situations, including:

  • Where a cyclist or pedestrian has suffered a severe or catastrophic injury
  • If there has been a fatality
  • When ICBC must determine liability as 50/50 because there is not enough evidence to determine what happened.

​Additionally, claims involving a cyclist or pedestrian who has suffered a non-severe injury will be “carefully considered by a committee of experts. These changes mean that, moving forward, the instances of when ICBC may seek recovery from cyclists or pedestrians will be more much limited.”

ICBC tells Canadian Underwriter that previously, decisions to seek cost recover rested primarily with the claims adjuster and manager. “Now, any claim involving a non-severe or non-catastrophic injury will be reviewed by a committee.

“Government and ICBC listened to the concerns raised from cycling advocates and Mr. [Ben] Bolliger about the decision to bill him for vehicle damage after he was involved in a collision,” Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, says in a press release. “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 media reports, Bolliger received a $3,752.01 bill from the public auto insurer after he was hit by a vehicle while riding on a bike route last summer. The seriously injured cyclist was billed for the cost to fix the windshield and hood of a car after a crash in Vancouver, leading to public outrage.

“We are committed to continuing to improve and this claim highlighted a situation where improvements needed to be made, and we are now making those changes,” says ICBC president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez.

ICBC tells Canadian Underwriter that both parties were initially assessed to be 50% at-fault as there was not enough evidence to determine what happened. “The police report provided shortly after the incident did not provide a clear picture of who was responsible for causing the crash.”

However, ICBC was recently provided with a final report from police on the claim. “That information was new to ICBC and has led to a change in the liability decision to hold the driver of the vehicle 100% responsible for the crash,” ICBC says in the release. “Mr. Bolliger is therefore not responsible for any damages or costs and will be fully compensated for damages to his bicycle and any other items.”

“We always hope to find a fair resolution to every claim,” the public insurer says. “We are never present at the scene of the crash so determining liability can sometimes prove challenging.”

In a tweet, Bolliger called the policy changes “one big step in the right direction.”

Adds ICBC: “Importantly, any cyclist or pedestrian injured in a crash with a vehicle is entitled to receive all of the care and recovery benefits they need under Enhanced Care, regardless of whether they were responsible for the crash or not.”

ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage came into effect May 1, 2021. There is no overall limit to the care and recovery benefits available to any British Columbian injured in a crash, regardless of fault.


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