Lorry law change ‘too slow’

EUROPEAN law-makers have been accused of dragging their heels on road safety, despite a compelling campaign by the family of a north Northumberland woman who was killed when her bike was hit by a lorry.

Eilidh Cairns died in February 2009 as she was cycling to work in London. The lorry driver claimed he hadn’t seen the 30-year-old, who came from Ellingham.

In the wake of Eilidh’s death, her family – backed by MP Sir Alan Beith and local MEP Fiona Hall – made the ‘See Me, Save Me’ written declaration to the European Parliament, in a bid to get the law changed.

Sir Alan also tabled a Ten Minute Rule Bill at the House of Commons in May, which calls for all HGVs to be fitted with cameras and sensors to prevent any further tragedies from happening. It will get its second reading on November 25, after gaining unanimous backing by MPs.

But the European Commission – which proposes changes to the law –- has now delayed its own report on the matter until the end of the year.

The news came not long before MEPs again voted in favour of action, supporting the Koch report which calls for the use of technology to protect cyclists and pedestrians who find themselves in a driver’s blind-spot.

Fiona Hall said: “The will of Parliament could not be any clearer. MEPs have twice backed action to eliminate the blind-spots that cause thousands of deaths and serious injuries every year.

“The Commission promised a response after the summer and now they are delaying until the end of the year. This is an important issue which requires urgent action.

“I will be writing to the Commission to press for a more speedy response. The solution to this blind-spot problem – sensors and cameras on vehicles – is available and affordable now, there is no good reason for delay.”

Eildih’s mother Heather, who is a former leader of Alnwick District Council, said: “We expected this to be a long process, but we are absolutely delighted that progress is being made, albeit slowly.

“Two more cyclists were killed this week, which shows just how important this issue is. We must see this through.”