Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Campaigners Travel to Brussels Ahead of Vote

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Campaigners Travel to Brussels Ahead of Vote

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel North Northumberland reporter Brian.daniel@trinitymirror.com

THE sister of a Northumberland cyclist killed by an HGV five years ago has joined Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman at the European Parliament ahead of a safety vote.

Kate Cairns, whose sister Eilidh died in London in February 2009, was with the cyclist at an event in Brussels organised ahead of a vote in the European Parliament next month on proposals which would see lorry cabs redesigned to eliminate their blind spots.

Kate, whose family's campaigning together with North East MEP Fiona Hall has helped inspire the proposals, last night said she was "encouraged by the momentum" building around the issue of cyclist safety.

Eilidh, 30, from Ellingham, near Alnwick, died in the capital where she lived and worked for a television production company, after being knocked off her bike on February 5, 2009.

The driver of the HGV which hit her claimed he had not seen the former pupil of Alnwick Duchess's Community High School.

Eilidh's mother Heather, Northumberland county councillor for Alnwick, who still lives at Ellingham, and Kate, who lives in Newton-by-the-Sea, began campaigning with Mrs Hall for all HGVs in Europe to be fitted with cameras and sensors to remove their blind spots.

They got the support of more than half the total number of MEPs for a written declaration to the European Parliament, calling for a change to continental law.

As a result the European Commission had to come up with proposals based on their wishes.

Its response eventually concluded that further research was needed to assess the potential and cost-effectiveness of such technology. In April last year, the commission published proposals for changes to the design of cabins of HGVs, partly in response to the family and Mrs Hall's campaign.

Part of the proposals was the introduction of new rounded cabins, which the commission says "have the potential to save 300-500 lives per year across Europe of vulnerable road users - cyclists and pedestrians. …

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