Canada: Cycling Accidents Without Insurance, Who Pays?

Last Updated: December 21 2016
Article by James R. Howie and Adam Wagman

Have you ever been sitting in your vehicle during a traffic jam, bumper to bumper, with no way to escape the street-turned-parking lot? If so, you probably looked on with envy as cyclists passed you by. You may have even joined the ranks of cyclists yourself!

Recognizing that this increasingly popular form of transportation is environmentally friendly, a great way to exercise, and something that helps limit the growth of car traffic, many cities have installed bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure to make it easier and safer to ride.

Even with these developments, cyclists are not immune from collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and other cyclists. If you are involved in an accident while on your bicycle that results in property damage or injuries to you or another person, what happens when you need to draw upon insurance?

Collisions Involving a Bicycle and a Motor Vehicle

A cyclist who has the misfortune of being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle will almost certainly end up much worse off than the driver of the motor vehicle – the soft tissue that makes up the human body riding the bike is no match for the steel frame of a vehicle in which a driver is safely buckled.

It is important that you take down the driver's license, plate and insurance information and, if possible, take photos of the accident scene. If your injuries don't allow you to do so, ask a witness to record that information. Exchange email addresses with the witness so that you can collect additional information, such as photos or statements, when you are able. The more information that you can record at the accident scene, the better.

Unlike motor vehicle drivers, cyclists aren't required to be licensed or to have insurance when driving on the road. If you have your own motor vehicle insurance policy, however, Ontario's no-fault benefits system requires you to file your claim with your own insurance company, even when your car isn't involved in a motor vehicle accident, and regardless of who is responsible for the collision. Even if you don't have your own policy, as a cyclist you can still make a claim for no-fault benefits to the insurance company that provides coverage for the car involved in the collision. That's why it's so important to get this information before departing from the scene of an accident.

By making a claim under an auto insurance policy, cyclists may be covered for property damages to the bicycle if they were not at fault for the accident. More importantly, they may be covered for medical and rehabilitation costs, income replacement, care needs, and other expenses that are covered under Ontario's Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).

In the unfortunate event of a hit-and-run, a cyclist without their own motor vehicle insurance policy may still be able to make a claim for damage to the bicycle under their home insurance policy or under a policy where they are listed as a dependent. But even without any insurance whatsoever, a cyclist can make a claim under Ontario's Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Fund. The Fund will provide coverage for the same no-fault benefits as an insurance company, and if the cyclist is not at fault, a claim can be brought to the Fund for damages, loss of income, and expenses, including the damage to the bike, for up to $200,000.

Collisions Involving Other Cyclists and Pedestrians

If a cyclist is involved in an accident with another cyclist or a pedestrian, the accident would usually not be considered a "motor vehicle accident", and therefore coverage under a motor vehicle insurance policy, access to Statutory Accident Benefits, and access to the Fund would not be available. However, the person at-fault in this accident would still be responsible for any damages that they cause. A homeowner's insurance policy, or other insurance policy, could provide some coverage for the damage caused by their negligence.

Stay Safe

Even though every motor vehicle driver must carry insurance on their vehicle while cyclists can ride insurance-free, it's important to remember that all drivers, riders and pedestrians must still follow the rules of the road in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. And cyclists, who have almost no protection while battling tons of steel on our roadways, must be constantly vigilant. There is little solace knowing the driver of the car was in the wrong while a cyclist lies in a hospital bed, their life forever changed.

As a cyclist, before heading out for your next ride, think about contacting your insurance provider to determine what kind of coverage, if any, you have for accidents involving your bike. Would new or additional coverage give you more peace of mind? Do you need optional benefits under your motor vehicle policy to make sure that you and your family are covered in the event of an accident?

Always practice prudent cycling safety by obeying the rules of the road, wearing bright/reflective materials, using appropriate hand signals, and keeping your eyes on the road and your surroundings.

Finally, if you are involved in an accident – whether you're insured or not – remember to treat it like a motor vehicle accident. Record insurance, license and witness information if possible, and always seek immediate medical treatment. With adrenaline running high after a crash, you may not notice you are seriously injured until later. Ride smart, and ride safe.

We are both avid cyclists and participate in the yearly Ride to Conquer Cancer – a two-day cycling event spanning over 200 kilometres throughout Ontario's picturesque countryside. In our next blog post, we will cover safety tips for motor vehicle drivers who share the road with cyclists, including the basic hand signals used by avid cyclist to communicate with others on the road.

This article was also published by The Lawyers Weekly.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions