Heads up out there, B.C. drivers. With Bike to Work Week starting next Monday, May 25, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has a simple but pressing reminder for British Columbia’s motorists: there’s about to be a lot more cyclists on the streets, so watch out.
It’s a timely reminder, too.
In B.C., the insurance company added, the summer months are the worst of the year for crashes involving bikes and cars. To put a finer point on it, ICBC released a set of statistics on Tuesday, indicating just how dangerous the roads can be when drivers aren’t careful. Five cyclists, it said, are injured during an average summer day on B.C. streets, with Lower Mainland asphalt being the most frequent for such collisions.
At least 670 cyclists are injured throughout a typical B.C. summer, the data further revealed—based on information gathered between 2009 and 2013—and an average of six, it concluded, are killed. Of those injuries, 450 happen in the Lower Mainland area—more than half of the provincial average.
Predictably, the response from many motorists is usually that bikes are breaking the law, or riding carelessly, or doing something else that ultimately puts them at fault for these collisions. Countering that assumption, though, other statistics published by ICBC confirmed that cyclists—when cause can be determined—have the right-of-way in 93 per cent of those cases. The fault, ICBC said, lies with drivers operating their vehicles while distracted, or failing to yield to bikes with the right-of-way.
“Really, the important piece is how they can share the road safely,” said ICBC’s road safety manager Aileen Shibata, speaking to Metro News. “Any injury or death is preventable.”