The cost of the personal injury payouts by the Insurance Commission of WA was $60 million. The figures have prompted renewed calls for an end to hostilities between drivers and cyclists.
The commission made 647 payments to cyclists in 2016-17 — comprising 292 new claims and 355 claims made in previous years.
The cost of the new claims was $8 million, with $52 million for open claims from previous years.
Of the new claims, 291 were paid through compulsory third-party insurance and one was paid through the catastrophic injury support scheme, more commonly known as no-fault insurance.
Commission chief executive Rod Whithear said he would like to see road users “show more courtesy” on the road.
“A group of cyclists delaying you for one minute is no different than a slow-moving truck or bus,” he said.
“The difference is when contact occurs between the car and bike riders, that contact is always a one-sided contest.
“If your car injures a cyclist the insurance claim and any legal action to support the claim will be taken against you as the driver.
“Fewer accidents between cars and bikes will reduce cost pressures on injury insurance premium prices.
“The best way to reduce pressure on insurance costs, and angst between road users, is for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to show a little more courtesy to each other on our roads.”
The number of cyclists being hit by cars has remained reasonably steady over the past five years, with an average of 330 new claims a year.
WestCycle chief executive Matt Fulton said there was no “silver bullet” to protect vulnerable road users but better road infrastructure and education for drivers and cyclists would help.
He said most people did the right thing but a minority did not.
“Everyone in the community benefits from people riding bikes regardless if they ride or not,” Mr Fulton said.
“Therefore, we all have a vested interest in getting more people out of cars and onto bicycles.
“The tension between riders and drivers seems to have escalated.
“However, at present, this appears to only be in the media and on social media.
“We need to be very aware of how comments have the potential to flow out of these environments and become normalised in everyday life.
“There is a small percentage of riders who give all riders a bad reputation, in the same way that there are a small percentage of drivers doing the same thing.”
Cyclists and drivers can claim against compulsory third-party insurance if they are injured by a car and the driver is at fault. The no-fault insurance covers injuries regardless of fault.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.