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Insurance for cyclists would limit pain and hurt

Lud Kerec became a quadriplegic after colliding with another cyclist three years ago.

Lud Kerec became a quadriplegic after colliding with another cyclist three years ago. Photo: Jay Cronan

A MAN left quadriplegic in a collision with another cyclist has called for a public insurance scheme for people hurt on Canberra's shared paths.

Lud Kerec was training for one of the toughest triathlon events in the world when he smashed head-on into another cyclist in the ACT's north.

The other rider had minor injuries and left when the ambulance arrived.

Mr Kerec has had to pay for every medical bill and modification to his house in the three years since.

''It is unlikely I'll walk one day,'' said the 65-year-old Mr Kerec, who takes half a cup of drugs a day. He was nearly garrotted by the strap from his own helmet after he believes it became tangled in the other bike and yanked his head back.

The nasty gash across his neck is a chilling reminder of his brutal accident on the Barton Highway, on the city side of Cockington Green Gardens.

The only bike he rides these days is a stationary machine he is strapped into and which works his muscles using electrodes.

He had no insurance himself and could not find the other cyclist to pursue them for an insurance claim, even after placing ads in the newspaper.

A lawyer told him it was unlikely the ACT government could be sued for the state of the thoroughfare, or any potential blind spots, where the collision happened.

''I was left carrying the can,'' said Mr Kerec, a director of a home building company at the time of the accident when he was training for the Port Macquarie Ironman.

Personal injuries lawyer Mark Blumer said home and contents policies often covered cyclists for accidents.

Pursuing other cyclists or pedestrians for compensation can only be done if they are identified and names and addresses are swapped, as is done after car accidents.

A particular person does not always have to be at fault for money to be paid out.

If neither is at fault, the other person could be sued for half the damages. ''It's a bit harsh when you sue someone under those circumstances - we don't often take those on,'' Mr Blumer said.

Lobby group Pedal Power provides insurance for cycling accidents to all its members who ride any bike anywhere in the world at any time of the day.

  • Join the Conversation: The Canberra Times has launched a new Facebook page called The Lycra Diaries - a home for news, views and information about cycling issues in the ACT. Like the page to stay up to date.
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