Victims remembered at site where Alex Barlow lost her life and takes place on fourth anniversary of Eilidh Cairns' death...

Road safety charity RoadPeace is holding a vigil in London tomorrow evening, Tuesday 5 February, to commemorate cyclists and pedestrians who have been killed by lorries. The vigil takes place on the fourth anniversary of Eilidh Cairns’ death. It will begin at 6.30pm at the junction of London Wall and Copthall Avenue in the City of London, where another cyclist, Alex Barlow, daughter of RoadPeace chair Cynthia Barlow, was killed by a lorry in 2000.

Tomorrow also marks the first anniversary of RoadPeace launching the See Me Save Me website, which builds on the campaign begun by Eilidh’s family after her death in Notting Hill, West London, in February 2009. The charity now co-ordinates the campaign on behalf of the Cairns family.

According to the London Cycling campaign, lorries account for some 5 per cent of London's traffic but are responsible for 50 per cent of cyclist fatalities in the city. The organisation is currently urging Londoners to write to their local councils to ensure they meet the requirements of its Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling Pledge.

Last week, we highlighted a report commissioned by Transport for London from the Transport Research Laboratory which found that despite widespread media coverage of road traffic incidents resulting in cyclists being killed or seriously injured in collisions with construction vehicles, operators still have very little awareness of the dangers they pose to bike riders. 

Road Peace says:

Despite all that is being done to tackle dangerous lorries, cyclists and pedestrians are still being killed or maimed with alarming regularity on our urban streets. Often the known lorry ‘blindspot’ is blamed, yet we know HGV safety technology exists which can eliminate the blind spot and would dramatically reduce the number of people killed or maimed each year. See Me Save Me is calling for the mandatory use of these life-saving technologies.

Please join us and other bereaved families at the vigil. Bring photos of loved ones. Stand and be counted with others who care and are calling for lorries to stop killing our loved ones on our streets, and pass this invitation to others who may be interested.


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.


zeb [49 posts] 5 years ago

I think that it is time to organise a protest in London and other major cities, to demonstrate for more cycling safety, awareness and against the very lenient way car drivers who kill are sanctioned by the courts.
Cycling is now very popular in many parts of the country, and I suppose we have reached a critical mass that would make the protests very significant. OK also I am French and it is part of my DNA  16 But I think we need to put some pressure on the politics, considering the hostility from gutter press and the worrying declarations of some PCCs.

Do you know which channels to use to organise such demonstartions? They need to be advertised and done when people are available.

A V Lowe [621 posts] 5 years ago

Lets get even more fundamental about this - there is NO EU LEGISLATION setting standards for the minimum direct vision available from the driving position of a truck, and NO EU LEGISLATION on the Collision Management Systems applied to new cars (ENCAP). In fact EU Legislation presses the haulage industry to make truck cabs take up the shortest possible amount of vehicle length - delivering trucks with the aerodynamic efficiency of a brick with a seriously negative design in terms of collision safety.

I urge all to read the T&E report on making trucks safer. They estimate that across the EU adding CMS features to the front of a truck, and through this improving the direct vision from the driving position would halve the fatalities arising from truck crashes - around 3000 lives per year saved. There may be some costs, but through this redesign the trucks would be aerodynamically transformed and thus the fuel consumption cut, along with the emissions footprint - saving money for the hauliers, and the environment for the world.

A CMS design of truck front would deflect a cyclist or pedestrian to the side, unlike the current flat front which knocks them down, and helpless to avoid being crushed under the wheels.

There is a window of opportunity in that EU regulations for truck design are under review, and we can lobby to make direct vision and CMS part of that review.

Even now trucks can be built without blind spots. Check out the trucks used on airports, or collecting refuse, with walk-in cabs, and drivers at eye-level with cyclists outside - Dennis-Eagle Elite and Mercedes-Benz Econic are the leading brands. Ask whether the 10-15% premium on these higher spec trucks is a too great a price for safety?

I hope to get to London Wall tomorrow - I was there just after Alex was killed and watched the Police reversing the truck back along its trajectory, and walking back the tyre and debris trail from the bike. The left turn was made from the offside lane, using the truck aggressively to force a priority across traffic in the nearside lane, and neglecting to account for a cyclist using the nearside lane. That turn was illegal - Copthall Avenue had a 7.5 Ton weight restriction for through traffic - the 4-axle concrete trucks weigh 32 Tons with a load on.

Go figure as they say.