In episode 20 of our podcast we sit down for a chat with Ben Bolliger about his unfortunate run-in with a vehicle while riding his bike in July of 2021 and the resulting battle he had to undergo to receive some form of justice from ICBC.
Ben is an integral part of the Steed Cycles Ride Club as an active ride leader, and has been a part of Ride Club for six years now. Prior to his accident last year Ben was also part of the Steed Cycles Race Team, taking part in frequent local road cycling races - cycling is clearly a huge part of his life.
In July 2021 Ben was hit by a car that ran a stop sign while riding his bike and sustained serious injuries including a severely broken arm which, while it healed, has left him without much of the feeling in his right hand. Obviously this has had a huge impact on his daily life and has left him unable to ride a bike like he once used to, but despite this ICBC does not deem his injury severe and so he has struggled to receive the specialist help he needs.
To add insult to injury, thanks to the new 'No Fault' policy introduced in 2021 and since ICBC view a bicycle as an 'uninsured vehicle', the same as they would an uninsured motor vehicle driver, it was decided that Ben was 50% at fault and that he would have to pay for the damages to the vehicle that struck him - a total of $3700. Ben took to social media and news outlets to spread the word and fight this decision, and ultimately ICBC conceded and changed their policy wherein they will no longer be billing vulnerable road users (ie cyclists and pedestrians) if they are severely injured due to an incident, at which point it was revealed that there were at least 65 other people in the same situation as Ben.
We're glad Ben fought ICBC on this and ultimately brought this positive change, but where does this leave those vulnerable road users that have been involved in an incident with a vehicle through no fault of their own and are not seriously injured? Those people will likely be billed and wind up seriously out of pocket. Furthermore since the introduction of the 'No Fault' policy, injured road users are now unable to seek compensation for their injuries and are often left high and dry without adequate care, something that another Steed Cycles Ride Club and Race Team member Rich Costello has also had the misfortune of learning recently. Ultimately it seems that ICBC have made the decision to save money instead of adequately caring for those that have spent years paying into the system (after all, most Cyclists do also own a car), and those most vulnerable road users are left to pay the price.
Clearly there are many changes that we still need to fight for, and we applaud Ben for doing his part. Tune in to the podcast to hear all about his experience and what he thinks needs to be done. Many thanks to Ben for appearing on the Steed Cycles podcast, and we wish him the best in his journey back to good health.