Road safety campaigners win more time

Eilidh Cairns.

Eilidh Cairns.

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CAMPAIGNERS who are battling to improve road safety across Europe, in memory of a Northumberland woman who was killed by a heavy goods vehicle, have been given more time in their fight, after making a personal overseas plea to MEPs.

Tragic Eilidh Cairns was run over by a truck whose driver failed to see her while she was cycling to London in February, 2009.

Following her death, Eilidh’s family and friends worked with North East MEP Fiona Hall to try to get an EU declaration signed to get HGVs fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spot.

The declaration needs to be signed by more than half of the 736 MEPs.

The deadline for them to support a change in the law was due to pass last week.

With the clock ticking, members of Eilidh’s family, including sister Kate, mother Heather and brother Mark – who came all the way from Canada – as well as a number of her friends, went to Strasbourg last week to lobby MEPs to sign the declaration.

And following a late surge in signatures, which took the number to 323, campaigners were granted an extra three weeks to try to get the required support they need.

Speaking after the trip to Strasbourg, Kate said: “We were really pleased with the support of everyone who wrote to MEPs across the country and I don’t think we would have achieved what we did achieve in Strasbourg if we didn’t have the support of people who came with us.

“It is testament to Eilidh that people have taken the time and effort to do something about this and be involved in the campaign.”

She added: “It would be an amazing feat if we could change the legislation at European level. Nothing will come anywhere near close to compensating for the loss of Eilidh but it will help prevent further future similar tragedies and help prevent other families and friends having to suffer.

“It will also help the drivers and prevent them from having to live with the fact that they have contributed in some way to the death of someone else.”

Fiona Hall said: “The extension to the deadline is excellent news.

“Momentum behind the campaign has been building and these extra weeks may just be the time we need to see us over the finishing line.

“Up until now, we have secured 323 signatories and we still need another 46.

“We must now redouble our efforts in the coming weeks to ensure we grasp this opportunity to prevent injuries and save lives.”

For more information about the campaign, visit www.eilidhcairns.com