Quebec lawmakers are currently working on Bill 22 to update the Automobile Insurance Act, Highway Safety Code and other traffic provisions. Vélo Québec wants these ongoing discussions to be expanded to protect more people “because it’s just the right thing to do.“
The cyclists advocacy group is calling on 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 Magali Bebronne, director of the Vélo Québec program.
Societe de l’assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) spokesman Mario Vaillancourt said the only way to compensate these road users is if an accident resulting in injury or death involves a car or truck.
“It must be an accident within the meaning of the law. This means the vehicle must be involved in the accident,” he told Global News.
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Bebronne told Global News over the past year that there have been serious and even fatal accidents involving two cyclists or a pedestrian and a cyclist when they were not entitled to compensation.
If coverage is extended, motorists who pay into the provincial auto insurance company’s compensation fund will pay for it.
“Most people who ride bikes are also drivers, so they also have a license and they also pay for this insurance system. Yet they are left to fend for themselves in the event of an accident 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 accidents that do not involve motor vehicles is unknown as no data is collected.
“We suspect that there are not many accidents that fall under this definition. So as a society, it really wouldn’t cost much to better compensate these people,” Bebreonne said.
According to Vélo Québec, this is something that the Minister of Transport of Quebec wants to change. Bebronne says François Bonnardel commissioned the SAAQ to collect data on these types of accidents in order to move the discussion forward.
The transport minister did not respond to our interview request on Friday afternoon.