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Eilidh Cairns campaigners still waiting for European Commission report on safety of cyclists around HGVs

Ten months after MEPs in Strasbourg vote to adopt written resolution, there's still no report from Brussels...

The family of Eilidh Cairns, killed by a lorry in London’s Notting Hill in 2009, have urged the European Commission to speed up a report into the safety of cyclists around lorries to help prevent other bike riders throughout Europe suffering death or serious injury.

The 30-year-old’s family, supported by MEP Fiona Hall which represents the North East constituency which includes Eilidh’s home village of Ellingham, near Alnwick, where her mother still lives, launched a campaign called See Me, Save Me that called for lorries across Europe to be equipped with cameras and sensors to help make drivers aware of cyclists in their vehicles’ blind spots.

The campaign was supported by the charities Sustrans and Brake, as well as celebrities including Olympic individual pursuit champion Rebecca Romero and former Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher.

Last March, more than half of the MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg supporting a written declaration on the issue that had been tabled by Ms Hall.

That meant that the European Commission was obliged to respond to the declaration and make recommendations to the European Parliament and subsequently to the Council of Ministers.

According to a spokesman for Ms Hall at the time, it is “very rare” for written declarations to gain sufficient support to move on to that stage.

However, nearly a year on, there is still no sign of the European Commission’s report on the issues involved, with the anticipated publication date pushed back several times.

The Journal reports that European Commission vice president Siim Kallas has written to Ms Hall to tell her that the report “will only be finalised in the coming days” and as a result it will “be delayed by a few months”.

Mrs Hall told The Journal: “The delay is very disappointing. We had initially hoped for a response after the summer break, and that was pushed back to Christmas time.

“Now we will have to wait until the spring at least. While I appreciate the commission’s desire to evaluate all the available data, I would have hoped for them to have done so by now.

“The sooner we can get cameras and sensors in HGVs, the sooner we can cut the number of deaths and injuries they cause.”

Eilidh’s sister Kate, who along with her mother Heather travelled to Strasbourg to lobby MEPs ahead of the vote on the written declaration, added: “We went there in February so it is going to be a year.

“The longer they do nothing, the more people die.

“It is very disappointing that the commission have not come back with anything yet.”

In November, a High Court judge rejected the Cairns family’s call for a fresh inquest into Eilidh’s death, saying that he was "a long way from being satisfied" that a different verdict to accidental death would be returned.

That decision came just a fortnight after the magazine Private Eye had revealed that the driver involved in Eilidh’s death, Joao Lopes, had been behind the wheel of a lorry that killed 97-year-old pedestrian Nora Gutmann on London’s Marylebone Road in June last year.

 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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