Quebec lawmakers are currently working on Bill 22 to update the automobile insurance act, the highway safety code and other road provisions. Vélo Québec would like to see these ongoing discussions broadened to protect more people “because it’s just the fair thing to do.“
The cyclist advocacy group is asking the government to extend compensation for road accidents affecting pedestrians and cyclists even if no motor vehicle is involved.
“On an individual level, for the families of the victims involved, it would make a huge difference,” said Vélo Québec program director Magali Bebronne.
Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) spokesperson Mario Vaillancourt said the only way these road users can be compensated is if a crash resulting in injury or death involves a car or truck.
“It must be an accident within the meanings of the law. It means that the vehicle must be involved in the in the accident,” he told Global News.
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Bebronne told Global News in the past year there have been serious, even fatal accidents involving two cyclists or a pedestrian and a cyclist when they did not qualify for compensation.
If coverage is extended, motorists who contribute to the province’s automobile insurance company’s compensation fund would be paying for this.
“Most people who ride a bike are also drivers, and so they also have a license and they also pay for that insurance system. Yet they’re left all by themselves when in the event of a crash where no motor vehicle is insured,” she added.
The SAAQ declined to comment on the amendments to Bill 22.
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The exact number of crashes that don’t involve motor vehicles is unknown because no data is collected.
“Our suspicion is that there aren’t that many crashes that fall within that definition. So as a society, it really wouldn’t cost much to better compensate these people,” said Bebreonne.
According to Vélo Québec, that’s something the Quebec Transport Minister wants to change. Bebronne claims François Bonnardel has mandated the SAAQ to collect data on these types of crashes in order for the discussion to progress.
The Transport Minister did not reply to our interview request Friday afternoon.