Cycle crashes cost WA $50m  in 5yrs
Expensive: Bicycle crashes. Picture: The West Australian

The Insurance Commission of WA has paid out more than $50 million to cyclists injured by cars in the past five years.

This represents an average payout of $10 million a year and is only for cyclists able to prove the driver was at fault under WA's fault-based compulsory third- party insurance system.

ICWA chief executive Rod Whithear said payouts - $52.8 million for 720 personal injury claims over the five years - were paid mostly from compulsory third-party premiums for WA's 2.7 million registered vehicles.

He said compensation was paid to cyclists only if the driver was fully or partly at fault.

The true cost of injuries to cyclists from car accidents was likely to be substantially higher because many cyclists were unable to claim because they were at fault or partly at fault or because they could not identify the driver.

Bicycling WA chief executive Jeremey Murray said the State Government should introduce no-fault insurance urgently. He said a scheme was needed to protect the 405,000 West Australians riding a bike each week.

"It's really not a car versus bike scenario - 95 per cent of bike riders drive a car, they just chose not to drive it on the day they ride their bike," Mr Murray said.

Mr Whithear said no-fault insurance would cost more than the current fault-based scheme.

Already this financial year, ICWA - which takes claims from cyclists, passengers, drivers and pedestrians - had paid out $64 million more than it had received in premiums, he said.

Mr Whithear said this deficit would get worse under a no-fault scheme, unless third-party premiums increased.

In States with no-fault insurance, registration and third-party insurance for a small private car is about $250 to $350 a year more than in WA, where it costs about $450 a year.

In November, Premier Colin Barnett confirmed WA planned to move to a national no-fault system but said such a scheme would cost more and could be three to four years away.

The West Australian

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