Bike-death victim’s sister backs idea for safer lorries

Eilidh Cairns.
Eilidh Cairns.

The sister of a Northumberland woman who was killed after her bike was hit by a lorry in London has backed a new design for HGVs, which campaigners say would cut the number of cycling deaths in the capital.

London Cycling Campaign has claimed its Safer Urban Lorry’s lower driving position and high-visibility glass panels would enable drivers to spot cyclists sooner.

The new lorry is based on the design and technology found in refuse trucks.

The Safer Urban Lorry design features a lower seating position for drivers – 60cm lower than conventional lorries – and a larger windscreen and side windows, to improve the view of their surroundings.

It also features a lower bumper clearance and side-guards, which would increase the chances of a cyclist involved in a collision being pushed to the side rather than being dragged under the vehicle.

In 2009, 30-year-old Eilidh Cairns, originally from Ellingham, was knocked off her bike and killed by a truck whose driver failed to see her while she was cycling through London.

Her family have been fighting ever since for improvements to be made to lorries and are involved with the See Me, Save Me campaign.

Her sister Kate, 41, backed the Safer Urban Lorry idea.

She said: “We welcome anything which improves the vision of drivers in lorries. Lowering cabins and improving the direct line of vision lowers the threat.

“Fifty per cent of cycle deaths in London are caused by HGVs, yet they make up only four per cent of traffic.”

She called for cameras and sensors to be fitted to lorries.