Eilidh Cairns campaigners urge European Commission not to drag heels over lorry safety

Support for safety measures in both European and British Parliaments, but European Commission delays report

by Simon_MacMichael   September 30, 2011  

Cement lorry in London © Simon MacMichael.jpg

A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and supporter of the See Me Save Me campaign launched by the family of Eilidh Cairns, the cyclist killed by a lorry in London’s Notting Hill Gate in February 2009, is urging the European Commission to take action and implement safety measures on HGVs to increase the safety of cyclists on the road.

In March this year, Fiona Hall, Liberal Democrat MEP for North East England, Eilidh’s home region and where her family still lives, managed to gain the support of more than half of her fellow MEPs for a Written Declaration proposing that HGVs be fitted with cameras and sensors to remove the driver’s blind spot, and prevent thousands of collisions each year.

After being passed by MEPs, the onus passed to the European Commission to draw up proposals as to how such changes might be brought into force throughout Europe.

However, despite MEPs again highlighting HGV safety this week as one of the points they recommended in the Koch report, the European Commission has postponed its own report on the issue until the end of this year, prompting Ms Hall’s call to action.

“The will of Parliament could not be any clearer,” she told the Northumberland Gazette.

“MEPs have twice backed action to eliminate the blind-spots that cause thousands of deaths and serious injuries every year.

“The Commission promised a response after the summer and now they are delaying until the end of the year. This is an important issue which requires urgent action.

“I will be writing to the Commission to press for a more speedy response. The solution to this blind-spot problem – sensors and cameras on vehicles – is available and affordable now, there is no good reason for delay.”

In Westminster, meanwhile, Elidh’s family’s MP, Sir Alan Beith, introduced a bill under the Ten Minute Rule in May calling for all lorries to be fitted with cameras and sensors, which obtained unanimous support from MPs. The Bill will have its second reading on 25 November.

Eildih’s mother Heather told the newspaper: “We expected this to be a long process, but we are absolutely delighted that progress is being made, albeit slowly.

“Two more cyclists were killed this week, which shows just how important this issue is,” she added. “We must see this through.”