The case for mandatory cyclist insurance has been put in the spotlight as the family of a six-year-old Canberra girl injured in a cycling accident faces being left out of pocket by an uninsured rider.
The girl's lawyer, veteran personal injury solicitor Noor Blumer, said a claim had been filed in the ACT Magistrates Court in December.
"The cyclist claims not to have insurance and claims to be impecunious. It wouldn't be an issue if he had proper insurance," Ms Blumer said.
Canberra cyclists have moved quickly to sign up for membership-based insurance after the $1.7 million compensation payout awarded against a negligent rider on October 31.
Pedal Power ACT has reported a nearly 30 per cent rise in members since the judgment was handed down.
But Ms Blumer, a former president of the Canberra Law Society, said there was no pressing need for a compulsory insurance scheme which could risk discouraging those on low incomes from taking up the healthy transport.
"Insurance is currently easily available and inexpensive, either through membership of certain cycling groups, under house and contents policies or by specialised separate insurance," she said.
"Situations where the cyclist is responsible for injury to another person, such as a pedestrian or other cyclist are few and far between."
One victim of a cycling accident, Lud Kerec, said it was time the ACT government mandated public insurance and registration plates for the city's cyclists, just as a driver had to register a trailer.
Mr Kerec, now 67, was left a quadriplegic after a 2010 accident with another cyclist – never identified – on a bike path about a kilometre from the Gold Creek Village.
He said he had spent more than half a million dollars since on a wheelchair, specialised physio equipment, necessary home modifications and a full-time carer.
"A lot of the bikes you see now are $5000-$10,000 – I can't see they should be too concerned about paying an annual fee," he said.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said mandating liability insurance, even only for adults, would add regulatory costs to cycling which needed to be carefully weighed against the impacts on health and household incomes.
"As the major cases recently detailed in the media show, compulsory bicycle insurance is not necessary to allow civil action to be taken against a cyclist for causing injury," Mr Barr said.
He said the ACT government was not considering new regulation for cyclists to register and display registration plates.
Last year the ACT passed a law which provided no-fault coverage for those -- including pedestrians and cyclists -- catastrophically injured in an accident, but only when a registered motor vehicle was involved.