February 13, 2018

Is it Time for ICBC Bicycle Insurance?

From the Richmond News bike rider Geordie McGillivray asks:
” I wish I could pay ICBC to insure my bike to ride on public roads. Every time someone says “If cyclists wants to be allowed to ride on the roads and have the same privileges as cars, they should have to have insurance” I tell them they are absolutely right. What? A cyclist saying yes, he should have to insure his bike? But I’m being serious. Please, let me pay to insure my bike, but with one condition: It must give me the same insurance benefits as a motorist.”
Currently, if I’m riding my bike on the road and hit a large pothole, lose control of the bike and crash injuring myself and damaging my bike, I am responsible for 100 per cent of the costs. Up to $3000 for a new bike and then paying for all rehabilitation costs. A motorcyclist who hits that pothole, crashes and gets injured will pay a $300 deductible and every other cost is paid for by ICBC. Win: Insured Motorist.
Currently, if my bike is locked up but stolen then I’m responsible for the entire cost of replacing my bike for $3000. If a motorcycle or scooter is stolen while insured then ICBC pays for the entire cost of a replacement. Win: Insured Motorist.
Currently, if I’m negligent and I crash into a car on the road, break my wheel and bars and damage the car, not only am I responsible for all the costs to repair my bike, let’s say $1000 in this case, but I then have to work with ICBC as well as police if they were called, and settle the repair costs to the vehicle. $2500 out of my pocket instead of a $300 deductible. Lose: Uninsured Cyclist.
Currently, if another cyclist runs into me, damaging my bike – but then that person rides away from the scene, I’m responsible for the full costs of the repair or replacement of my bike. Up to $3000. If a cyclist hits a car, damages it and then rides away then the motorist only has to pay a $300 deductible. Win: Insured Motorist.
How could I not want insurance like motorists have? Cyclists would then be saving thousands of dollars and passing it on to ICBC just like motorists do. ICBC would be paying out millions more every year in bike replacement and repair costs. I’d be so happy because just like motorists, I would rarely be out-of-pocket whether an accident is my fault or not. Then, we could cue all the complaints from people now saying cyclists should not be allowed to have insurance on their bikes. I’m sure of it.”
john-and-leo-huang-ridingPhotos: Richmond News

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  1. The scenarios outlined are statistically insignificant and in the case of potholes, the municipality can be held responsible. Home insurance can also cover instances of theft. And it’s all predicated on riding $3000 bikes. Most people ride bikes worth only little over the deductible, if that.

  2. Somehow every argument against insuring cyclists seems to wind up being, “because we don’t have to now, and don’t want to.”

    1. And every argument ends pratically with we won’t because we can’t. The concept of practical feasibility hits some kids’ child cognitive development late.

    1. What a bike is -worth- in market/Craigslist value vs. what you got retailed for are two vast different sums.
      That’s like a driver bemoaning their “$70k” SUV, which paid price depreciates 10% the moment they drive it away from the dealership (as it instanstly becomes ‘used’). It subsequently depreciates a further 10% annually.

  3. It’s easier to insure larger objects; once things get smaller and movable, fraud rises sharply. If one feels we can step down from buildings to vehicles to bikes, by extension, their logic would extend to celphones, which are far more ubiquitous than bikes, and recently have become more costly.

  4. Why would I want ICBC insurance, when my home insurance covers me for liability and theft of my ‘vehicle’, at no additional cost.

  5. My wife and I are members of the BCAA and she buys her car and our home insurance though them. Our home insurance covers my bike at full replacement cost (my road bike was stolen) and my liability while I am biking. Also BCAA offers me road side emergency repair service for my bike.
    I feel that my insurance needs are well covered.

    1. My wife and I have our six bikes insured at replacement cost, and we have personal liability insurance as well.
      We also have ICBC underinsured motorist protection. It applies to all members of our household. It tops up the liability limit if we are injured by another who has a lower liability limit, and it provides that protection when we are walking and cycling, or riding in a vehicle other than our own, not just when we are driving our vehicle.

  6. By becoming a member of Cycling BC, you not only support cycling, but have access to Cycling insurance that will cover you for most of this. It is surprisingly affordable, as the risk is so small.
    As an aside, I think it is apropos that this photo is of a location in Richmond where the cycling realm was made significantly less safe via “road improvements” a few years ago. Years later, the promised cycling improvements to make that part of Westminster Highway less likely to kill cyclists have never occurred. We don’ need insurance as much as we need better infrastructure.

    1. Cycling BC is a sport organization. When I looked at their insurance offering, it was limited to sanctioned club events, such as races or organized club training rides. Has that changed?

  7. I am the holder of ICBC’s “Non-owned Underinsured Motorist Protection Policy,” which as I understand it gives me and my family $2m in coverage for $25 a year. I’m not reading the small print right now but this was sold to me as a way to insure myself as a cyclist on the road. So this problem may be solved already. I’d be interested if anyone has experience with this in practice or knows its limitations…?

    1. I’ve had it for years. It is for injuries to you or members of your household, and tops up an at-fault motorist’s policy if they have a lower liability limit. There are exceptions to what it covers. See the policy.

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