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30-year old woman crushed by tipper truck, driver not liable

The family and friends of a woman who was crushed beneath the wheels of a tipper truck and subsequently died have expressed their dismay at the level of punishment handed down by the judicial system in cyclist death cases.

Television producer Eilidh Cairns was just 30 when struck by the vehicle while cycling to work through the Notting Hill area of London in February 2009, reports the Evening Standard. She remained conscious while pinned underneath the truck but despite being taken to hospital she succumbed to her injuries a short time later.

The driver was 54-year old Joao Lopes from Dagenham in Essex. Lopes was cleared of any liability over Ms Cairns's death, despite claims his mirrors were not properly adjusted. However, three months after the incident Lopes was required to undergo an eyesight test which he failed.

As a result his licence was revoked but he was cleared to drive again in April of this year and is back behind the wheel, now wearing glasses. He initially entered a not guilty plea to a charge of driving while unable to comply with the requirements of a prescribed eye test but on Monday changed that plea to guilty just before a court hearing got underway.

He was ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 surcharge but did not receive the discretionary driving ban the magistrates could have imposed.

Emma Chesterman, 33, Eilidh’s former housemate, told the Evening Standard: "He has admitted his eyesight was not good enough and gets £200 and three points on his licence.

"It does not seem fair. We are bewildered by the whole system that treats cyclists' deaths in this way. It seems to be the attitude that you are putting yourself in the way of danger and therefore it is your own fault if it happens to you, which is not the same as if it were a pedestrian killed."

Eilidh’s sister Kate Cairns told the paper: "This shows the inadequacies in our justice system. We still don't know what happened and it leaves you with a sense of hopelessness."

A Facebook page celebrates the memory of Eilidh.