ICBC is changing the way it deals with claims when there is a collision between a motor vehicle and a cyclist or pedestrian.

The “active transportation users” will no longer be on the hook for damages to vehicles they are hit by, no matter who is at fault.

And, while they are entitled to some compensation for injuries, they still cannot sue for damages.

The change was announced today, May 4, by Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

It comes after a cyclist in the Lower Mainland, Ben Bolliger, was billed $3,700 for damage to the hood and windshield of a Mercedes that hit him in a Vancouver intersection in July.

ICBC, at the time, ruled that Bolliger was 50% responsible for the crash, which sparked a storm of protest from cycle groups.

“ICBC was recently provided with a final report from police on Mr. Bolliger's claim,” the insurance corporation said in a news release. “That information was new to ICBC and has led to a change in the liability decision to hold the driver of the vehicle 100% responsible for the crash. Mr. Bolliger is therefore not responsible for any damages or costs and will be fully compensated for damages to his bicycle and any other items.”

Bolliger was also injured and has told other media that he will never regain full use of his injured right arm.

The crash followed after ICBC switched to a no fault insurance system, or what it calls Enhanced Care.

“Nobody can sue anybody for injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia,” Vancouver lawyer David Hay told

Hay was instrumental in working with cycling organizations to lobby ICBC to change the rules.

“Under the old system, if a cyclist got in a crash with a motorist and was injured, typically what would happen is they would retain counsel and counsel would fight with ICBC to recover damages,” Hay said. “In the context of that fight, there would be a resolution of liability. You have to prove negligence in order to recover damages so the conduct of motorist and cyclist would then be put into an arena, and sorted out and largely settled. If you couldn’t reach a settlement, you could access a court of law and a judge could make a finding on liability.”

That’s not allowed under the new enhanced care system and, because of that, it even prevents B.C. residents from suing for injuries caused by out-of-province drivers.

Hay was recently contacted by a woman injured by a California driver. Even though it’s legal to sue for damages in California, she can’t do that because it has to be allowed in the jurisdiction where the collision happened.

That doesn’t mean Bolliger, or other cyclists, aren’t able to get some compensation.

“Any cyclist or pedestrian injured in a crash with a vehicle is entitled to receive all of the care and recovery benefits they need under Enhanced Care, regardless of whether they were responsible for the crash or not,” the ICBC release states.

That part of Enhanced Care covers medical expenses and wage loss of 90% of net income to a maximum of $100,000.

The problem with the coverage, Hay said, is that it’s based on income a person is earning at the time of the collision but not future loss of earnings.

That means, for example, a student in medical school working as a server would be compensated at that wage rate and not the lifetime earnings as a physician that would be lost because of a debilitating injury.

Injured people also cannot sue for pain and suffering.

Those limitations apply to people injured while in motor vehicles as well.

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