Relatives and supporters of Eilidh Cairns have succeeded in the first stage of their fight help reduce the risks to cyclists on European roads.
After launching the See Me Save Me campaign and visiting the European Parliament in Strasbourg the family succeeded in enlisting the support of more than half of Euro MPs for its Written Declaration on heavy goods vehicle collisions. This ensures the European Commission must now come forward with proposals to improve cyclist safety across the continent.
Eilidh, 30, was killed by a tipper lorry while cycling in London’s Notting Hill Gate in February 2009. The driver claimed he had not seen her but pleaded guilty to driving with uncorrected defective vision and was given three points on his licence and a £200 fine.
The Cairns family worked with North East MEP Fiona Hall on the Written Declaration that proposes HGVs should be fitted with cameras and sensors to remove the driver’s blind spot, and prevent thousands of collisions each year. The proposal required the backing of half of all MEPs, in order to progress to the next stage and be considered by the European Commission. That figure has now been reached.
The MEP and family’s campaign had encouraged people across Europe to write to their MEPs, and asking them to support the declaration.
Eilidh’s mother, Heather, and sister, Kate travelled to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to lobby MEPs for a second time earlier this week in a last-ditch attempt to secure the requisite number of MEP signatures. Now it is apparent that those efforts have been successful.
The European Commission must now respond to declaration and make recommendations to the European Parliament and subsequently to the Council of Ministers.
Kate Cairns told the Journal: “I hope that Eilidh’s legacy will be to save the lives of vulnerable road users right across Europe through the creation of safer roads.
“It has been fantastic to see so many people rally to the cause over the past four months and for their hard work to be rewarded.
“I want to thank every individual who has responded to our plea for assistance. Their action has brought about this result.
“The reckless stupidity of having huge lorries ‘share’ road space with pedestrians and cyclists without the simple and inexpensive warning systems available must now end.”
A spokesman for MEP Fiona Hall told the publication that it is “very rare” for written declarations get enough support to be considered by the Commission.