Bike insurance costs about $30 per year in British Columbia.
Fire insurance, flood insurance, auto insurance – paying up front for something that hasn’t happened yet can seem like a never-ending bill. But after a high-profile case of a cyclist being forced to pay half the cost for being run over by a car, it appears some British Columbians are willing to pay.
Ben Bolliger says he was cycling to lunch on Granville Island in July 2021 when a driver failed to stop his vehicle at the stop sign and collided with him.
“It was a terrible ordeal. I was thrown about 14 or 15 meters and landed on a curb. My bike was broken in half and I will never have full range of motion in my hand again. right,” he said.
Then, to his surprise, he received a bill for $3,752 from ICBC stating that he was “responsible for any damage or injury to our [ICBC’s] insured” and that because he has no insurance coverage, he “must reimburse the cost of our insured’s claim”.
While Bolliger says cyclists need to know they have options, his story seems to have struck a chord.
After Glacier Media published its story, an insurance company received a flood of calls.
With more Canadian cyclists buying liability insurance than ever before, OASIS Insurance President Keith Bossaer says it looks like British Columbians are leading the charge — do cyclists really need insurance?
Do owners of pedal bikes need a cover?
For anyone who rides a simple pedal bike, Bossaer says insurance, like Pedal Power Insurance, can be purchased for cyclists and will protect you against liability, damage and injury.
Typical homeowner’s insurance or tenant’s insurance does not provide you with coverage; if you were to collide, you could be responsible for damage, theft, liability and personal injury.
Do I need to be insured if I own an e-bike?
What goes for pedal bikes goes for electric bikes.
According to ICBC, you don’t need to have a driver’s license and you don’t need to register your e-bike. License and insurance are also not necessary for your e-bike.
But if you are involved in a collision while on an e-bike, you will be subject to the same rules and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle.
This applies to e-bikes that do not exceed 500 watts in total.
There are different rules for limited speed motorcycles, such as mopeds and scoots, which can be found at ICCB website.
Why take out bicycle insurance?
Instead of adding bike coverage to your current renter or homeowner’s insurance, some experts recommend purchasing separate coverage.
Bossaer says it’s a good option for people who don’t rent or have a home. It can also be a smart move for people who don’t want their insurance policy to change if something were to happen to their bike.
“It separates insurance claims from their home or renter’s insurance,” he says.
What happens if I have a collision with my bike and I am not insured?
If your vehicle is uninsured and you are involved in a collision, ICBC may charge you for the cost of the insured person’s claim.
This falls under Section 178 of the Insurance Vehicles Act, and ICBC says it has the right to “recover” the cost.
If an invoice is not paid, ICBC may take legal action against you, and if they do not hear from you within 15 days of sending an invoice, they may refer the claim to their account service for debt collection.
How much does this type of insurance usually cost?
Power Pedal insurance ranges from $20 to $40 for the year and provides standard $1 million in liability protection.
“It’s pretty cheap,” says Bossaer.
“The website will show you your options and it depends on the circumstances of the liability,” he says.
Do most cyclists have insurance?
Power Pedal Insurance was established a few years ago and has grown steadily, even doubling across Canada in just a few years.
“There are a lot more people going there now,” says Bossaer. “It’s been a rapidly growing product for us for some time in Canada.
Other organizations like Horse Council BC are offering $5,000,000 in excess personal liability insurance and offers a similar coverage model.
What are the other options to protect me?
It may be time to invest in a dash cam for cycling, similar to those used in vehicles in the event of a collision.