Family take cycle safety bid to MEPs

THE family of a Northumberland woman killed by a heavy goods vehicle two years ago are to travel to the European parliament as part of their road safety campaign.

Eilidh Cairns

THE family of a Northumberland woman killed by a heavy goods vehicle two years ago are to travel to the European parliament as part of their road safety campaign.

The mother and sister of Eilidh Cairns, who died after being knocked off her bike in February 2009, are to head to Strasbourg to lobby MEPs on a proposal to improve safety on larger vehicles.

Eilidh, 30, was hit by a HGV as she cycled to work in London, where she worked in television production.

The driver of the vehicle later said in court he had not seen the cyclist.

Eilidh’s mother Heather, who still lives at Ellingham, and sister Kate, of Newton by the Sea, both in Northumberland, have worked with North East Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall to prepare a written declaration to the European Parliament calling for HGVs to be fitted with cameras and sensors to remove their blind spots.

The See Me Save Me proposal, which has been tabled by Ms Hall, would see a change to European Union legislation.

In order to get the declaration considered by the European Commission, the family and Ms Hall need to get half the total number of MEPs – 736 – to sign it before a vote is taken on February 16.

They have written to all 72 MEPs in Britain, with 26 having signed by January 29. However, the UK Independence Party has refused to give its support, as has North East Labour MEP Stephen Hughes.

The family and Ms Hall are circulating a letter which they are encouraging people to forward to their MEPs. It has been translated into all 23 languages within the EU.

In order to gain backing from MEPs from other countries, a group of around 16 campaigners, including Heather and Kate and friends of Eilidh, are heading to Strasbourg on February 14, staying until after the vote, to lobby them.

Heather, a former leader of the now defunct Alnwick District Council, said: “We know this is not the perfect solution but it is about raising the profile once again and any little thing that helps and if it saves one life, we need to go for it.” All those who would like to support the family’s campaign are encouraged to visit the website www.eilidhcairns.com/campaign

The Cairns family marked the two-year anniversary of Eilidh’s death on Saturday.

Heather, a retired schoolteacher, said: “We had a very quiet, pleasant day in the garden. We had a bonfire, just the immediate family.

“We had an al fresco meal with the children in the garden. It was just quiet and contemplative.”

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