Vancouver cycling – getting hit by a car!

Vancouver cycling – getting hit by a car!

If you’re my friend on social media, you probably already know that I had one horrible week in July. I was hit by a car on the way to work, and it totally ruined my beautiful bike. It was a pretty awful experience BUT I learned quite a lot from it, so I figured I should share my new knowledge. Hopefully this will help other cyclists and give you an idea about what to do after you get hit by a car in Vancouver or anywhere in British Columbia.

R.I.P my lovely bike and bright bike basket! This did not survive the collision.Β 

How to avoid crashes in Vancouver:

I should probably mention that I am a veeery careful cyclist. I never run red lights, I give way to pedestrians and I do my best to anticipate the crazy behaviour of drivers because I have learned that some drivers just don’t watch out for vulnerable road users.

  • Follow the rules!! If you’re not sure, have a look here and here.
  • Wear a helmet
  • Make sure you are visible – wear bright clothes and have proper lights when it is dark
  • Be VERY careful about passing cars on the right (especially if it looks like they are about to turn right!) I don’t pass cars on the right unless there is loooads of room AND the cars are moving very slowly or stopped in traffic.
  • Practice signalling. Always signal before you turn so drivers and pedestrians know what you’re about to do!
  • Watch out for car doors! People sometimes open their car door without checking for bicycles, so be reeeeally careful when you go past parked cars.

What to do if you are in a collision

I should admit, I did most of this wrongly! I was in shock, shaking and I didn’t know what details I’d need later!

  • Pick yourself up off the road and get yourself to safety. I had to pick up my bags, water bottle and bike, then walk down to where the driver had stopped.
  • Get the details of the driver and the car. I managed to get the phone number of the man who hit me, but I don’t know his full name, and ICBC wouldn’t give it to me later.
  • If there is a witness, get their details too. A lady offered to give me her details after my collision, but I wasn’t thinking straight, so I told her I’d be fine.
  • Make sure you’re really okay! I think I was in shock, as I didn’t feel any pain until much later in the afternoon. My bruises didn’t show up until about 5 days after the crash. Be aware that you might feel different later!
  • Once you calm down, you need to contact ICBC and report the accident within 48 hours.
  • Consider contacting a lawyer. I was not planning to do this until after I spoke to several other cyclists. They all said I should at least speak to a lawyer. The lawyer I spoke to really helped me understand what to expect when the ICBC called me back.

Get to wherever you are going

I got straight back onto my bike (which was probably a mistake as I was so shaken up!) However, after just a few meters, I realized that my bike was now too wobbly to get me to work. I was about 7km fromΒ work, so I figured I should find a bus!

Luckily, you can easily put your bike on the racks on the front of buses in Vancouver. I wasn’t sure how to do this, but the driver (and a kind fellow passenger) helped me work it out. I actually made it to work on time, even after my crash detour.

Once I made it to work, I made myself a cuppa and asked for a band-aid/ antiseptic for my scrapes. The cup of tea made my whole world a little better. This may be overly English advice, but I think if you end up in a collision, get yourself a cuppa.

When ICBC call you back

Everyone in British Columbia has to buy car insurance through ICBC, so when you are in a collision, they are the place that will contact the driver and sort out your claim for compensation. They will ask for the following bits of information when they call you back to talk about your collision:

  • The details about the collision, where you were, where the car was, what the traffic lights were doing, were there other cars around etc. Basically, as much detail as you can remember about the moments before the car hit you. It helps to draw a diagram of the collision before they call, so you have the details in your mind.
  • What you were wearing (I guess this could lead to a bit of victim blaming!?)
    I was wearing bright colours and a helmet, so I told them that. I also mentioned that my bike was covered in orange flowers, so I don’t fade into the background!!
  • Details about your injuries. It’s okay to give them more information later if you feel worse! I bounced off the car, so luckily, my physical injuries were not too bad.
  • Details about the damage to your bike and their car. I thought my bike was okay (just a bent wheel) when I first spoke to ICBC. But later once I got bike shops to look at it, I discovered it was much worse. My beautiful bike was a total write-off. *sob*

Getting a quote for your bike

ICBC won’t trust you that your bike is broken, so you’ll need to take it to a couple of bike shops, and ask them to do an ICBC assessment. First of all, take photos of your bike and the damage.

I took mine to the Bike Kitchen at UBC. They were incredibly kind, helpful and gave me lot of good advice. They sat me down and talked me through their assessment so I knew what was wrong. They also told me I’d need a second quote, and that I shouldn’t have to pay for it.

Next, I went over to Bike Doctor’s where I originally bought my bike. They were having a closing down sale, so they were too busy to help me. So, I walked over to Denman Bike Shop (I won’t add their link, as they were not helpful). They were pretty rude and they said they had to charge me $25 just to look at my bike, so I didn’t leave it there. Finally, I tried Mighty Riders. This shop was really good for me. They took my bike and promised they’d look at it and get back to me. They asked details about the accident, and then called me for more details later (they were friendly and thorough.)

In the end, both bike shops agreed that my bike was dead. I had to send copies of their quotes along with photos of my damaged bike and injuries to ICBC. I also made a video of my wobbly wheel (as you can’t really see how bad it is from photos.)

Next steps

After I had given ICBC all the details, they said they had to investigate who was at fault with my collision. About a week later, they confirmed that it was 100% the driver’s fault, and that they would pay for my new bike (yay!!) However, when they followed up with the details about this, I was told that they won’t cover the ‘depreciation’ of my bike, so they planned to give me a couple $100s less than it would cost me to buy a new bike.

This basically means that even though the driver failed to yield when it was my right of way aaaand even though I was the only one to get hurt, the insurance still left me much worse off. In many ways it is rubbish to be a cyclist.

My friend Craig told me when ICBC did this to him, he took a day off and went to ICBC to advocate for himself to ensure he’d receive the full amount for his bike. However for me, losing a day of work will cost me just as much as I could gain from the full value of the bike, so it’s not worth the extra hassle. I’m pissed off about it, but I can’t really see how I can fix that.

Introducing my new Brodie Bike

I had to buy a new bike already, so hopefully I will receive a cheque from ICBC in the mail soon! This is my new bike! I recovered as many flowers as I could from my broken bike, and bought some new ones, so I am already back to my bright cheerful cycle-style!

I covered the new bike in flowers already too. 😊

 

38 thoughts on “Vancouver cycling – getting hit by a car!

  1. What a dreadful experience! I’m glad your weren’t seriously hurt. I know after a car bumped into mine and I was working away from home I was fine, but an hour or two later I felt quite shaken and lingered in the restaurant of my hotel as I didn’t want to be alone . . . but I really was fine! However, still felt very vulnerable. Nice flowers on the bike btw! πŸ™‚

    1. I’m not surprised! Anything like that can give you a shake!! I’m glad you were okay too.

      Yeah the vulnerable feeling hasn’t gone away yet, so I am definitely more scared while I cycle, especially near where the car hit me.

      The exact same thing happened last week too, but I was watching out for it, so managed to break in time this time. The driver waved thank you (even though he was cutting me up and risking my life!)

    1. Thanks Geoff. Eep! I hope your collision wasn’t worse! It’s pretty scary isn’t it?

      I’m glad it is getting sorted too. Although it is rubbish that I have to foot part of the bill for the bike. Ah well.

  2. I think about you every time I see a cyclist. It’s crazy how much work you had to put in to prove the driver totaled your bike! That is not very cyclist-friendly protocol to me. I would think pictures and a video would suffice! That’s also crap that they didn’t give you the full value for your bike. Sometimes, this world really isn’t fair. I hope you stay safe and never have to experience something like this again. Love ya, friend!

    1. Thanks lovely!

      It is pretty strange isn’t it! Although, I am pretty glad that I can just deal with ICBC. I’m not sure if i’d get anything in the UK!!

      p.s. I reeeeally hope I don’t have to go through that again too!!

      1. You do also have to do that with your car here in Manitoba (similar provincial insurance provider)- if your car has previous damage, it can really mess with your assessment and how much they are willing to pay out to fix your car! With a car or a bike, I would have it annually assessed so that you have proof within the last year at most that it was in good condition- my mechanics usually do it for free with other service! Should we have to do it? Nope, but it can save you a little bit of hassle.

        If only we had competition for insurance!!!!

        Please take care of yourself and make sure that your injuries really aren’t serious!! We need our Josy hiking fix!!

        1. Oooh I did not know that! I’ll ask about it next time we take our car for a service.

          I guess I should ask in the bike shop how I can prove it’s in working order! My bike that died was less than a year old, still under warranty and they still took a big chunk of money off it.

    1. Thank you!

      I quite like the new flowers, but I liked the old ones more to be honest. I think I’ll keep adding flowers until I *really* love it.

  3. So sorry to hear about your bike accident. I’m glad you didn’t come out with more serious injuries. I like to bike too and am very careful, but it’s easy to see how quickly stuff can happen. Thanks for the pointers, especially the ICBS info. I love your flowered bike basket…so pretty!

    1. Yay that you like the flowers!!

      It’s quite scary. I looked up some figures about collisions with bikes, and it seems like the majority of them occur at intersections, when cars do not concede the right of way for the bike. A teenager died in North Van this week in exactly the same situation as my collision. Eep!

  4. Oh, Josy, this is just terrible! I was knocked off my bike at a roundabout, by someone driving a classic Mini. They had a passenger who should have seen a bike at that level, my guess the two women were too busy chatting. The driver had the cheek to say I’d scratched her car! I was on my way to a shorthand exam, but wheeled my back into the office. My boss got one of the van drivers to take me to college, then got my bike fixed for me. I think my boss must have rung the college as I passed my exam – God knows how, I was shaking like a leaf. Let’s hope your driver now starts showing a bit more care and consideration to other road users, it’s a lesson learned the hard way, and I am so relieved you are still in one piece!

    1. What a nice boss! I’m glad you were okay in the end too!

      Yeah, I am not sure what happens in the UK!? Can cyclists expect a drivers insurance company to pay for damages to the bike when they’re in the wrong!?

    1. Yeah. I know lots of drivers hate us cyclists, but we’re in way more danger! I didn’t even leave a mark on the driver’s car!

      It’s made me even more careful when I’m driving our car too.

  5. Josy, I am horrified that you have bought another bike. They are fine on country roads, but not on busy roads in town. Why do you cycle to work? Are you short of money? Does Marc agree with this or is he as worried as others like me are? You may not escape so easily the next time. Cars and bikes are not meant to be on the same road at the same time. Dare I ask if you intend to stay in Canada permanently?
    All my love darling, Grandma x x x

  6. Josy, I’m so happy you are okay! And, I love how cheerful you have made your new bike. You are always such a happy person. xx

  7. Pleased that the bike came off second best and not you. I love cycling though I am very conservative where I do it. I too love your new bike Josy. Keep cycling and enjoying just treat all who driver as blardy lunatics until they prove otherwise. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I think I am going to have to do that! I have a tendency to expect people will follow the laws. But I need to expect them to be loonies(!)

      I think I will also change my route to work for a longer version, to find some safer roads.

  8. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear this! πŸ™ I’m glad you’re ok though! It all sounds pretty stressful πŸ™

    I had to get a new bike last year too, we were carrying them on the back of the car and a car when into the back of us and wrote off my bike. I was gutted, I loved my bike and didn’t want any bike apart from mine πŸ™ Thankfully it was all sorted through our household insurance, but yours sounds really stressful.

  9. Josy, you are so lucky it wasn’t any worse!
    I feel for you with the whole insurance thing, but the main thing is you are okay, and your new bike is lovely! <3

    1. Yes, that is very true! I am very, very glad that I saw it in time to slow down and bounce. I shudder to think how much worse it could have been.

      A teenager died in North Vancouver last week from the exact same situation. The car turned left when they shouldn’t have. πŸ™

  10. Oh Josy Im so sorry you experienced that. How awful but thank goodness you are ok! You new bike looks gorgeous, (as did your old one). I love that you had a cuppa, as a London girl, I KNOW that to be the best medicine haha xx

  11. I’m so sorry to hear this news Josy. You sound very calm about it all, I do hope you are feeling better now and thanks for writing down this helpful list. I also love that you had a cup of tea as soon as you got to work, I would have done the same.

    1. I wasn’t calm to start with! I cried for a couple of days before I managed to get myself back to normal!!

      Thanks though Debbie! I am miles better now. πŸ™‚

  12. I’m very glad you are ok, but that is a real kick in the stones, flipping insurance!

    You have gone to great lengths to make your bike pretty, I love those flowers – better luck with this one xxx

    1. Thanks lovely! I think I need to add some more red/pink flowers to make it stand out more!! I’ll get it looking amazing eventually!

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