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Collisions Can Cost Drivers, Even When Cyclists At Fault

An interesting article today in the Times Colonist (Victoria), Page A3, 18-June-2009:

Drivers beware: Colliding with young cyclists could end up costing you, even if you’re not at fault. On Tuesday in unrelated incidents, two young cyclists were hit by vehicles in Saanich. In the first, a 14-year-old was hit by a car on Highway 17 near Elk Lake as he attempted to cross two lanes of traffic. In the second, a 10-year-old boy slammed into the side of a moving truck on Canterbury Road while trying to cross the road. Both cyclists were taken to hospital. The 10-year-old had emergency surgery and is in critical care, while the 14-year-old is recovering from minor injuries. In both cases, Saanich police said the cyclist seemed to be at fault, and the 14-year-old was given a $109 ticket for careless cycling – what a driver who committed the same violation would be fined. (Given his age, the 10-year-old likely won’t get a ticket.)

Cyclists on roads and highways have the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles and are governed under the Motor Vehicle Act, said Saanich police spokesman Sgt. John Price. Yet because cyclists are uninsured by ICBC and because both cyclists are minors, it’s likely the accident will end up costing the drivers. ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said drivers who are hit by cyclists and only have basic insurance – and not collision coverage – end up paying for damages to their vehicles out of their own pocket. Even drivers who are fully covered could see the claim affecting their insurance premiums, possibly increasing the amount they pay for auto insurance, Grossman said. Drivers hit by cyclists can sue for damages, but not when the cyclists are minors.

“You simply cannot sue someone who’s a minor,” said Barri Marlatt, a personal injury lawyer at Hutchison Oss-Cech Marlatt, who is not involved with these cases. The Parental Responsibility Act, which allows people who have experienced damage to property caused by a child to sue the parents of that child, cannot be used in these cases either, because the collisions were not intentional, Marlatt said.

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