Kate Cairns, sister of Eilidh Cairns who was killed by a tipper lorry while cycling in London’s Notting Hill Gate two years ago tomorrow at the age of 30, has issued a plea to cyclists, both in the UK and elsewhere in the EU, to lobby their MEPs to back proposed legislation aimed at improving the safety of cyclists sharing the road with heavy goods vehicles.
Talking about the inquest that followed her sister’s death, and the campaign called See Me Save Me that she has launched to improve cyclists’ safety, Kate says: “The coroner concluded that it was more likely than not Eilidh was ahead of the lorry, that she was available to be seen by the driver, and that the front offside bumper of the lorry made contact with the rear wheel of the cycle, causing it to fall and Eilidh to be caught up in the wheels.
“Last year the driver pleaded guilty to driving with uncorrected defective vision and was given 3 points and a £200 fine. He said he did not see her. He is still driving his truck.
“Heavy Goods Vehicles count for 45% of all London cyclist deaths but make up only 5% of road traffic. Across Europe 4,000 people, mostly unprotected road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are killed each because of HGV blind spots.
“Our local Member of European Parliament is proposing a change to EU legislation to have HGVs fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spots with Written Declaration (WD) 81.
She adds: “We have a ready-made letter, which is translated, along with the actual WD, into all 23 languages across the EU.”
The action that you can take to urge your MEP to back the proposed legislation is as follows, again in Kate’s words:
“1. PLEASE email the letter to ALL of your MEPs ASAP. It will take less than 2 minutes. We have a link to the letter, and to your MEPs" [assuming you reside in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania,Slovenia, Finland, Sweden].
“In order to be effective this declaration needs to be signed by half of the 736 MEPs. There are only 72 MEPs in the UK.
“2. PLEASE forward this email to as many contacts as possible far and wide across Europe.
“The WD lapses in less than 2 weeks on Wed 16th Feb. Please act swiftly.”
Kate adds: “If you want to do more:
"3. PLEASE come to Strasbourg for 15th and/or 16th Feb to lobby MEPs as they go into the session.
“We are taking Eurostar on Monday 14th Feb, returning Wednesday 16th Feb.
“4. PLEASE come to Hyde Park Corner 11.30-12.30 on Monday 14th Feb, for a media event, before we leave for Strasbourg.”
You can find all links to the template letter and other details of the campaign here.
Kate concludes: “We really appreciate 3 minutes of your time to do 1 and 2. It can help save lives. Lives that are cherished and sorely lost.”
Please also use your Twitter and Facebook account to get the message across, because the more people lobby their MEP, the greater the chance of this legislation making it onto the statute books across Europe.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.