Formula One Ace Is Backing Safety Fight; Family Hoping for Law Change after Tragedy

The Journal (Newcastle, England), May 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

Formula One Ace Is Backing Safety Fight; Family Hoping for Law Change after Tragedy


Byline: Brian Daniel

FORMULA One Supremo Michael Schumacher has backed a Northumberland family's fight to improve road safety. The seven-time German world champion has given his support to the family of Eilidh Cairns, who are battling to change European law following her death in a cycling accident.

Eilidh, 30, who was brought up at Ellingham, near Alnwick, died after being knocked off her bike by an HGV in London, where she was living and working as a television producer, in February 2009.

The driver later said in court he had not seen Eilidh.

Working with North East Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall, the Cairns family put together proposals to fit out HGVs with cameras and sensors to remove the driver's blind spot, and prevent thousands of collisions each year.

The 'See Me, Save Me' written declaration was formed last November and the campaigners had until February to get half the total number of MEPs to sign it, in order for the proposal to be looked at by the European Commission.

They sent a circular letter to friends across Europe, translating it into all 23 languages spoken across the continent, encouraging people to ask their MEP to support the declaration.

Eilidh's mother, Heather, a retired headteacher and former leader of the defunct Alnwick District Council, who still lives at Ellingham, twice led teams which travelled to the European Parliament's base at Strasbourg in France, to lobby MEPs in a bid to get the required number of supporters.

She was joined on the first trip by Eilidh's sister, Kate, an independent sustainability advisor who lives at Newton-by-the-Sea, near Alnwick.

Following that initial mission, campaigners got enough backers to be given an extension.

On the second, they clinched the target 369th signature, and now have more than 400. …

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