Anyone that lives in a major Canadian city, like Toronto or Ottawa, knows that biking is a popular mode of transportation. Cycling is a fantastic form of exercise, relatively cost-effective and good for the environment.
As a motorist, you need to know how to behave while sharing the road with a cyclist. Even high-quality bicycles provide little to no protection to cyclists if they are struck by an oncoming vehicle. If you accidentally hit a cyclist with a car, you can cause serious damage to the cyclist, their bike and your vehicle.
This is why you should know what to do if you accidentally hit a cyclist while driving.
Do you know how to proceed if you hit a cyclist with a car in Ontario?
If not, be sure to continue reading.
What happens if you hit a cyclist with your car in Ontario? — An in-depth guide
Hitting a cyclist with a car is a serious offence that can lead to an array of consequences.
For starters, if you accidentally hit a cyclist with your vehicle, the cyclist can sue you for any injuries or property damage that you’ve caused. This can result in several thousands of dollars’ worth of legal fees.
Additionally, your auto insurance will increase your car insurance premium unless you have accident forgiveness (we’ll touch on this again shortly).
In short, if you accidentally hit a cyclist with your car, you will be responsible for the related legal fees and may see an increase in your car insurance rates.
*Whenever a vehicle hits a pedestrian or a cyclist, the driver is automatically deemed at fault unless they can present evidence to prove otherwise. Reverse onus applies in both these cases.*
Does my auto insurance cover third-party expenses if I hit a cyclist with my car in Ontario?
Yes, in Ontario, your third-party liability coverage can cover all (or a portion) of legal expenses related to an accident with a cyclist.
Due to the fact that the province of Ontario has a relatively low requirement for third-party liability coverage, we suggest increasing your coverage limit to $1 million (or more). It’s not uncommon for severe or life-threatening accidents to result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and medical fees.
By increasing your coverage limit to $1 million (or more), you can improve the chances of your auto insurance covering all third-party legal and medical expenses (not just a portion).
Speak with your Surex insurance advisor to learn more about third-party liability coverage and the benefits of increasing your coverage limits.
*Each province has their own rules and regulations regarding collisions with cyclists and auto insurance. If you live in a different province, you can contact your Surex insurance advisor to learn more.*
Will my auto insurance company cover my property expenses if I hit a cyclist with a car in Ontario?
Your auto insurance company can cover property damage expenses related to collisions (like if a cyclist is hit by your car) if your policy features collision coverage.
For those that don’t know, collision coverage is a car insurance add-on (an insurance term that refers to optional forms of coverage) that covers your property damage if you get into a collision. Collision coverage is not automatically included in standard car insurance policies; you need to specifically ask for collision coverage if you want to add it to your policy.
I hit a cyclist with my car — will it affect my car insurance premium?
Yes, as mentioned earlier, hitting a cyclist with a vehicle is a serious offence that can lead to higher car insurance rates.
If you accidentally hit a cyclist, vehicle, pedestrian, etc., you’ll need to file a car insurance claim. When you file a car insurance claim that results in a liability payout or repair-related expenses, it can increase your risk level as a motorist. As a rule of thumb, the higher your risk level, the more you’ll have to pay for auto insurance coverage.
Additionally, if you get convicted too many times, you may be forced to get high-risk auto insurance. High-risk auto insurance is more expensive than traditional policies and can be difficult to purchase (especially if you have a spotty insurance history).
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see why you need to be cautious while driving near cyclists: hitting a cyclist with a car can result in serious injuries (for both parties) and can negatively affect your car insurance premium.
Three tips for driving near cyclists
If you want to do your part to keep cyclists safe on the road, feel free to use the following tips:
Share the road — Do your best to give cyclists their fair share of space on the road. A rule of thumb is to stay no less than five feet away from nearby cyclists.
Check your side mirrors before opening doors on the road — Drivers and passengers need to keep an eye out for bikers while opening their car doors (particularly on the side that’s facing the road). If you and the cyclist aren’t paying attention, the cyclist can accidentally ride into your door as you open it. This can lead to serious injuries and property damage for both parties.
Bonus tip — Any time a driver opens their door and someone hits it - a cyclist, pedestrian or another car, the driver who opened the door is automatically at fault.
Don’t swerve into bike lanes — It goes without saying that bike lanes are for cyclists, not drivers. While driving on a road with a bike lane, be conscious of how close it is to your vehicle. If you’re not careful, you can accidentally swerve into the lane and collide with an oncoming cyclist.
Save up to 25% on auto insurance when your team up with Surex
If you’re looking for auto insurance quotes, the first thing that you should do is reach out to your personal Surex insurance advisor.
Our talented team of advisors works closely with some of the best car insurance providers in Ontario, which allows us to provide policyholders with an extensive selection of quotes in ten minutes or less.
Contact us today to get started and to learn how you can save as much as 25% when you bundle multiple policies with the same provider.