Families slam government for reluctance to back safety ruling

Two families, who lost loved ones while out cycling, have spoken out about new EU rules for safer lorry designs

From left: Local community guardian Sue Hare, Peter Gibson, Anne Kearney, Vincent Walsh of Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, resident and Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign member Helena Kettleborough and Residents Association secretary Kay Fletcher at the scene of bike crash which killed 21-year-old Joshua Jarvis
From left: Local community guardian Sue Hare, Peter Gibson, Anne Kearney, Vincent Walsh of Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, resident and Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign member Helena Kettleborough and Residents Association secretary Kay Fletcher at the scene of bike crash which killed 21-year-old Joshua Jarvis

Two grieving families who lost loved ones in cycle crashes have slammed the Government for its reluctance to accept new EU rules for safer lorry designs.

This week, a large majority of MEPs voted in favour of a new HGV design aimed at reducing the number of cyclists killed in collisions. If national governments back the changes, lorries will have to have bigger windows and rounder fronts which will help to tackle drivers’ blindspots.

However, the UK Government has called for more research and London Mayor Boris Johnson says he is worried that it may oppose the changes. This news has disappointed two Northumberland families whose loved ones were killed in collisions with HGVs.

Eilidh Cairns, from Ellingham, was 30 when she died after being knocked off her bike by a lorry in London in February 2009. Her family set up the See Me Save Me campaign to eliminate lorry blindspots. Mother Heather Cairns said: “The Government has not welcomed this decision with open arms. Some politicians are not convinced it will be a benefit on British roads which I fail to understand.

“I’m pleased that it’s been voted through the European Parliament but there is still a lot of work to do. My daughter was killed five years ago and I’ve had to distance myself on a personal level while I’ve been campaigning for this rule-change.

“Losing your child is so hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis. But if you have a focus and you feel you can change things, then that is empowering. I don’t want a single other cyclist to be killed by an HGV.”

The parents of Longhoughton’s Josh Jarvis, 21, killed in a collision with a cement mixer in Manchester in February, backed the Cairns’ campaign.

Reacting to this week’s decision, Josh’s father Simon said: “It’s good news and well done to the campaign but it hasn’t really gone far enough.

“This is typical of our Government; encouraging everyone to get on their bikes and be cycle friendly, but anything that might cause a bit of conflict they shy away from it.

“How many more people have to be killed before someone does anything about it?

“Our family feels a massive part of it is missing. What happened was a tragedy that could have been easily avoided. As a country, we should be taking every step we can to avoid it ever happening again.”

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