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When sharing a road with cars, cyclists, even when wearing the appropriate safety gear, run a risk of being struck by a vehicle and injured. Cyclists, like cars, are expected to obey the rules of the road, including signalling, obeying traffic lights, and not riding in pedestrian crosswalks. However, unlike cars, cyclists are not required to have insurance.

Insurance Coverage For Cyclists

Being uninsured does not leave an injured cyclist without legal recourse in the event of injury. In fact, in the event of a crash with a car, a cyclist is given significant legal protection and multiple avenues to ensure they can seek appropriate compensation for their injuries.

Each person’s situation is unique, but generally in a crash with a car, a cyclist can receive insurance benefits from, and their damages could be compensated by, one of the following means:

  • the insurance of the car involved in the crash;
  • the cyclist’s own car insurance, or the car insurance of their spouse, or someone on whom they are dependent; or,
  • the motor vehicle accident claims fund.

Bicycle Accident Compensation Claims

When a vehicle hits and injures a cyclist, the cyclist can sue the driver and owner of the vehicle for compensation in the form of monetary damages.

In a typical claim where an injured person is seeking compensation, it is the injured person’s responsibility to demonstrate that someone else is responsible for their injury. However, where a cyclist is hit by a car, it is the driver of the car that must first prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the collision did not arise from the driver’s negligence or improper conduct. In putting the responsibility on the driver to disprove improper conduct, the cyclist is given a significant legal advantage when seeking compensation for their injuries.[1]

Once a cycling accident compensation claim against the driver is commenced, their insurance company will respond and cover the driver up to the policy limit. Where a crash occurs and the at-fault driver did not have insurance, or drove off from the scene and cannot be located, the cyclist’s damages can be covered by the cyclist’s own car insurance, or the car insurance of their spouse, or parents if the cyclist is a dependent, if that car insurance contains the standard Family Protection Coverage OPCF-44R provision.[2]

Should the cyclist not have access to their own, or their family’s, insurance, the Ontario government would cover the damages as a last resort through the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, but only to a maximum of $200,000.00 in compensation.[3]

Cyclist Insurance Claims & Benefits

A claim for insurance benefits is different than a claim for damages. When a rider is struck and injured by a car, regardless of fault, the rider is entitled to make a claim for automobile insurance benefits, including benefits for medical care, rehabilitation, lost income, or attendant care. Who pays the benefits depends on the circumstances of the accident.

Your own insurance has the responsibility of funding your benefits if you are injured in an accident, so if a cyclist has their own car insurance, that insurance takes over the claim for benefits. If the cyclist does not have their own car insurance, then any policy of auto insurance under which they are a listed driver would respond to the benefits claim. If the cyclist is not a listed driver, then the cyclist’s spouse’s insurance, or the insurance on anyone the cyclist might be dependent on would respond to the claim. If those options are not available, the insurance of the at-fault driver would be compelled to fund the benefits.

Finally, if the at-fault driver is not insured, or has driven away and their insurance information cannot be identified, the Ontario government would be the last resort for a claim, and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund would take over administration of the accident benefits claim.

Know Your Rights As A Cyclist

Despite having to follow the rules of the road, but not having to be insured, cyclists are given significant legal protection if they are struck by a car, and are provided with multiple avenues to ensure they can seek appropriate compensation for their injuries.

If you have any questions regarding an injury sustained while in a vehicle or riding a bicycle, or would like more information on cycling accident claims, please contact Maciek Piekosz at [email protected] or call 519-660-7718 for a free consultation.

[1] Highway Traffic Act, RSO 1990, c H-8, s 193

[2] OPCF-44R https://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/auto/forms/Documents/OAP-1-Application-and-Endorsement-Forms/1076E.pdf

[3] Financial Services Commission of Ontario: Suing an Uninsured or Unidentified Motorist https://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/auto/mvacf/Pages/mvacf_claims.aspx

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