ICBC is backtracking on a policy that cyclists, pedestrians and other active transportation users were charged for damage to vehicles in collisions for which they were partially at fault.
The changes come after Vancouver cyclist Ben Bolliger went public with his story of being billed $3,700 for damage to the hood and windshield of a car after being hit at an intersection.
Last summer’s crash sent Bolliger to the hospital, shattered the front end of his bike and destroyed his helmet and phone. He says he now accepts the fact that he will never regain full range of motion with his right hand.
In Wednesday’s announcement, the insurer said it will no longer issue repair bills to cyclists or pedestrians who sustain catastrophic injuries, are considered by ICBC to be 50/50 because it there is not enough evidence to determine what happened, or when there was a fatality.
When a cyclist or pedestrian has suffered a non-serious injury, ICBC said the case will be carefully reviewed by a panel of experts.
“Our new care-based model is only a year old and we will continue to look for ways to improve how we deliver improved care to British Columbians,” said Nicolas Jimenez, CEO of ICBC, in a written statement.
The company also said it recently received a final police report into Bolliger’s accident, resulting in a change in ICBC’s liability decision. It now holds the driver 100% responsible for the accident.
“Mr. Bolliger is therefore not liable for any damages or costs and will be fully compensated for damage to his bike and any other items,” the statement read.
Bolliger said the announcement was a “tremendous weight” on his shoulders.
“It feels good,” he said. “When I got that letter in March, it was so ridiculous that it’s sort of within the realm of how ICBC was operating at that time.”
Bolliger says it’s a surreal feeling to be at the center of the story and that his case is leading to policy change at ICBC.
“Let’s be honest there’s a lot of really good work done by a lot of other people. I happened to be hit by a car and I tweeted about it when I got a bill ridiculous from ICBC,” he said. said, naming the BC Cycling Coalition and the HUB.
Bolliger says he still has issues with how ICBC handled his case and others like him.
He says he would like injured people to have quicker and easier access to compensation for missed work, saying it was not fair that he first had to exhaust paid sick leave from the company. employer and apply for medical employment insurance before ICBC pays.
“It was a really tough experience,” he said. “The more I deal with the ICBC process and the more I deal with the issues with my application, the more time I don’t spend focusing on my own recovery and getting better.”