Family of Eilidh Cairns mark fifth anniversary of cyclist's death

Family of Eilidh Cairns will tonight retrace the Northumberland cyclist's fatal journey through London to mark the fifth anniversary of her death

Eilidh Cairns who was killed whilst cycling to work
Eilidh Cairns who was killed whilst cycling to work

Family and friends of a Northumberland cyclist killed by an HGV five years ago today are to mark the anniversary by retracing her final journey.

Eilidh Cairns, 30 from Ellingham, near Alnwick, died in London, where she was living, after being knocked off her bike on February 5, 2009.

The former Duchess’s Community High School student had been making her way to the television production company where she worked.

Her family has since campaigned tirelessly for cyclist safety and has helped secure a vote in the European Parliament next week on proposals which would see lorry cabs redesigned to eliminate their blind spots.

Tonight, Eilidh’s mother Heather and sister Kate will join her friends in cycling from where she lived to the ghost bike at Notting Hill Gate which acts as a memorial at the spot where she was killed.

Message of support for the family’s See Me Save Me safety campaign will be read out at the ghost bike.

Heather, Northumberland county councillor for Alnwick, who still lives at Ellingham, said: “It is poignant to do the ride. I am sure if she would have been killed climbing a mountain we would have been sitting on top of a mountain.

“It is about going back to where she was taken away from us. It is to celebrate the fact she loved cycling through London, it is to celebrate her life and the way she lived it.”

Heather and Kate, an independent sustainability adviser who lives in Newton-by-the-Sea, have campaigned over the last five years with North East MEP Fiona Hall for all HGVs in Europe to be fitted with cameras and sensors to remove their blind spots.

They got the support of more than half the total number of MEPs for a written declaration to the European Parliament, calling for a change to continental law.

As a result the European Commission had to come up with proposals based on their wishes.

It has concluded that further research was needed to assess the potential and cost-effectiveness of such technology.

In April last year, the commission published proposals for changes to the design of cabins of HGVs, partly in response to the family and Mrs Hall’s campaign.

Last Wednesday, Kate and Mrs Hall attended an event at Brussels with Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman, at which prototypes of the new rounded cabs were on show, ahead of the vote on the proposals next Tuesday.

Heather added: “The fact there are discussions on cab design, it is very heartening. The snowball is getting bigger all the time, it is gaining momentum. Cycling is being focused on much more than when Eilidh was killed. I am sure the campaigning has helped.

“We need to spin that out to places like Newcastle.”

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