Mother of Northumberland cyclist killed by HGV horrified at new bike deaths

News of six cyclists involved in fatal accidents in London prompts mum of Eildh Cairns to speak out

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

The mother of a Northumberland cyclist killed by an HGV has spoken of her horror at a recent spate of similar deaths.

Heather Cairns, whose daughter Eilidh, 30, died in London in 2009, has revealed her heartache at a reported six fatalities in the capital in less than two weeks.

She has also hit out at London mayor Boris Johnson for his comments that cyclists need to obey the rules of the road.

Heather and daughter Kate meanwhile continue to campaign for cycle safety and have hit out at two recent moves which they say will increase the risk posed by HGVs.

Eilidh, originally from Ellingham near Alnwick but living and working in London at a TV production company, was killed after her bike was hit.

The HGV driver claimed he had not seen the former Alnwick Duchess’ Community High School pupil. Six cyclists have died on the capital’s streets in less than two weeks.

Heather, Northumberland County Councillor for Alnwick and still living at Ellingham, said: “It is just horrific that five or six more lives should be lost.”

Mr Johnson has said in the aftermath of the deaths that cyclists have a duty to obey the laws of the road.

Heather, a retired teacher, claimed his comments did not help “when you have got those grieving parents.”

“We all agree that cyclists should obey the rules but the rules of the road often do not take cyclists into account,” she added.

Heather and Eilidh’s sister Kate, an independent sustainability adviser who lives at Newton-by-the-Sea, have campaigned for cycle safety since her death.

They campaigned with North East MEP Fiona Hall for a change in continental law requiring all HGVs to be fitted with cameras and sensors to remove their blind spots. The trio got the support of more than half the total number of members of the European Parliament. As a result the European Commission had to come up with proposals based on their wishes.

The commission concluded that further research was needed to assess the potential and cost-effectiveness of such technology. The family and Ms Hall have now hit out at the EC’s recent decision to scrap a directive requiring HGVs built between 2000 and 2007 to be fitted with new types of mirrors capable of removing their blind spot.

Heather said: “We are disturbed that the retrospective fitting of mirrors has been removed by the European Parliament. That was a backward step.”

The commission says it has removed the directive as it required vehicles to be fitted by 2009 and all now have been.


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