However, as more and more people abandon their cars and hop on their bikes to get around, it is inevitable that some cyclists will make mistakes and cause collisions either with other cyclists or pedestrians. This raises a real risk that cyclists or pedestrians could find themselves injured by the negligent actions of a cyclist. I am thinking, in particular, of the number of times I see cyclists weaving through pedestrians on Victoria’s busy sidewalks despite s. 183(2)(a) of the Motor Vehicle Act, which prohibits bicycles from sidewalks.
If you find yourself injured by a person on a bicycle, a person injury case may not be as straight forward as if you were injured by a person driving a car. A minimum of $200,000 in third party liability insurance is mandatory for people driving in British Columbia, even out of province drivers. There are also provisions in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act to protect people who are injured by unidentified or uninsured drivers.
Third party liability insurance is not mandatory for cyclists. That said, many cyclists will be insured by their tenant or homeowner insurance policy for causing personal injury or property damage while cycling (I know I am!). For most personal injury cases, the existence of an insurance policy is a crucial piece of the puzzle to get an injured person a fair recovery.
So, if you have been injured, or do get injured, by a negligent cyclist, it is important to take the same steps you would think to take if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident – get the names and contact information of witnesses and, if the accident is serious or the cyclist flees the scene, call the police. If the negligent cyclist does indeed have a responding insurance policy, you will put yourself in the best possible position to pursue a personal injury claim.
On the flip side, my fellow cyclists should consider whether their insurance situation would cover them if they were sued for negligently operating their bicycle causing personal injury or property damage, especially if they plan on biking on sidewalks.