Earlier this month, the British Columbia Court of Appeal released its reasons in the case of Ormiston v. ICBC, 2014 BCCA 276. In this case, an injured cyclist was found totally at fault for an accident that occurred while the cyclist was passing a vehicle on its right, contrary to the Motor Vehicle Act. As a cyclist myself, I agree that cyclists must endeavour to follow the rules of the road – however, this case highlights problems with the legal framework that governs how motorists and cyclists are to share the road, and the associated problems in adjudicating negligence cases involving cyclists.
In an ordinary personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff will need to know who is responsible for their injuries, so that the court can find that party responsible. For example, if you were badly injured by a passerby who strikes you with their umbrella, and flees the scene, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position that you won’t be compensated for the pain and suffering, lost wages and expenses you might suffer from your injuries. Thankfully, our laws in British Columbia do provide some protection to individuals who are injured in a “hit and run”, that is, by a negligent motorist who feels the scene of the accident and remains unidentified.