A City of Vancouver report released July 20, 2011 found that the total number of collisions reported to ICBC on Dunsmuir Street is down since the introduction of the bike lanes. According to the report, “The Five years 2005-2009 saw between 144 and 193 collisions per year and an average of 164 per year. During the 9 months following the installation of separated bike lanes on Dunsmuir Street, the number of collisions is reduced when compared to the 5-year average of same 9-month period of previous years. July 2010-March 2011 saw only 98 collisions, down 18% from the 119 average from the previous July-March periods (2005-2010). ICBC-reported collisions involving bicycles are infrequent events. To date, there is insufficient collision data to be able this element of overall cycling safety related to the separated bike lanes.”
These statistics do not address the rate of personal injury and whether the bike lanes have led to a reduction in bicycle accident related injuries. The reduction in collisions may simply be due to less vehicular traffic as drivers avoid roads with bike lanes.
In the concurrant Vancouver Separated Bike Lane Business Impact Study, released July 20 2011, pedestrian safety was cited as one factors that 15% of pedstrains said they shopped less often on Hornby and Dunsmuir Streets. Pedestrians now have to be aware of two way bike lane traffic as well as parking vehicle traffic and automobiles on the road.
If there is an increase in bicycle on pedestrian personal injuries there will be a serious issue of insurance coverage. Currently ICBC does not provide third party liability coverage for bicycles, electric bikes, or motor-assisted cycles. Which means, unless an at fault cyclist is covered under homeowner’s insurance, the injured pedestrian will be left with an uninsured claim. Conversely, an at fault pedestrian will not be insured if they injury a person operating a bicycle, electric bike, or motor-assisted cycle. This does not relate to ICBC accident benefits which are completely different. Take a read of my article on how to get ICBC no-fault accident benefits.
This would be a good time for ICBC and BC legislators to start considering changing the law to allow cyclists access to optional third party insurance coverage. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness
Issue: Should ICBC offer third party liability coverage to cyclists?