Victory for Eilidh

A BATTLE to eliminate blind spots from heavy goods vehicles in the wake of a Northumberland woman’s death could lead to a change in the law, after a proposed Bill was accepted by Parliament.

Sir Alan Beith MP tabled a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons yesterday, calling for all HGVs to be fitted with cameras and sensors to prevent crashes like the one which killed 30-year-old Eilidh Cairns in February 2009.

It was unanimously backed and will now go to a second reading on September 9.

Eilidh, who worked as a development assistant producer for a documentary production company in London, was knocked off her bike by a truck as she cycled through the city.

The driver claimed in court that he hadn’t seen her.

Since Eilidh’s death, her devastated family has campaigned for improvements to be made to lorries, with the ‘See Me, Save Me’ written declaration being made last November which has taken them to the European Parliament with local MEP Fiona Hall.

The proposals are to be looked at by the European Commission and have been backed by Formula One racing legend Michael Schumacher.

Sir Alan said: “Kate and Heather Cairns, and everyone involved in the See Me, Save Me campaign, have worked incredibly hard to get the backing of the European Parliament and now the European Commission has to come up with proposals to address the issue of blindspot eliminating equipment on HGVs. My colleague, Fiona Hall MEP, has been working with them and has already had meetings with the Commission to determine the next steps.

“The Ten Minute Rule Bill is another opportunity to push for support and I have been contacted by many MPs from across the political spectrum who are very pleased that this issue is being raised in Parliament. The Cairns family and I are grateful for their backing for this campaign.

“This Bill and this campaign has come about because of Eilidh’s terrible and premature death, but it is not just about protecting cyclists and pedestrians. HGV drivers are being asked to do a very difficult job in driving their large and heavy vehicles on streets which were not designed for them, which requires a great deal of training, skill and concentration.

“The effect of being involved in a fatal or serious accident stays with drivers for the rest of their lives, and some never return to work.

“I would like to see HGV drivers being given more support and the tools to do their job safely.”