A Vancouver cyclist says he's flabbergasted after being handed a $3,752 ICBC bill after reportedly being struck by a driver.
The collision happened in July 2021 when Ben Bolliger was cycling to grab lunch at Granville Island.
"I was hit by a car that ran a stop sign,” he says.
“It was a terrible ordeal. I was thrown about 14 to 15 metres and landed on a curb. My bike was snapped right in half and I will never, ever have full range of motion in my right hand again.”
Bolliger tweeted about the incident on March 29, after receiving the ICBC bill in the mail on Monday.
"ICBC deems that because I was driving an uninsured vehicle, I was riding my bike, that I am uninsured and therefore share fault. I have to pay out of pocket to pay to repair the driver’s windshield and I guess a dent to the hood,” says Bolliger.
Bolliger says he had to be off work for four months as a result of his injuries.
“My right hand was severely broken. I had an eternal fixation device because the break was so bad it couldn't be solved with a cast. They removed multiple pieces of windshields from my back; my toes were broken,” he says.
The letter added insult to injury for him, he tells Glacier Media.
"I want them to recognize that sending a bill to somebody that has been permanently injured is ridiculous and they never should have done that. That is inappropriate,” Bolliger says.
In a written statement to Glacier Media, ICBC states it investigates every crash to determine who is responsible.
"In assessing any claim, we review all of the evidence presented to us in order to come to a fair decision. This would include reports from the drivers involved, witness statements and police reports if available,” says an ICBC spokesperson.
In some claims, if there are conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence, responsibility for the crash may be split.
“In a small number of cases, approximately five per cent — liability is split,” wrote the spokesperson.
Lawyer Kyla Lee with Vancouver-based Acumen Law says in the absence of an insurance policy, the individual ends up being personally liable.
Many cyclists do not have insurance coverage for themselves but it is an option, she says.
"You can’t insure bicycles but what you can do it is purchase home insurance or renters insurance that includes an umbrella policy that would cover you in the case of any bike accidents or any other type of negligence that you were involved in that lead to harm to another individual,” says Lee.
Bolliger can dispute the responsibility of the crash but says he wants something else from this experience.
"I would really like it if they could replace my bike and I want some real change to come of this,” he says.