Family of cyclist calls for action on HGV blind spots Deaths.
THE family of a Northumberland cyclist killed by a heavy goods vehicle has called on politicians to act on the findings of a study, warning "every day of delay is risking another avoidable death on our roads."
Loved ones of Eilidh Cairns, 30, from near Alnwick, who died in London in 2009, have campaigned at European level since her death for measures to remove the blind spots of HGVs, resulting in MEPs voting in favour of proposals earlier this year.
They have now called for politicians to take action after experts found that changes to the design of HGV cabs could save hundreds of cyclists' and pedestrians' lives.
Eilidh, from Ellingham, lived in the capital and was riding to work at a television production company when she was killed that February by a driver who later admitted he had not seen her.
Mother Heather and sister Kate, both now members of Northumberland County Council, have since campaigned initially with former North East MEP Fiona Hall, at local, national and European level, setting up the See Me Save Me campaign to eliminate lorry blind spots.
Their campaigning helped secure a vote in the European Parliament in April on proposals which would see lorry cabs redesigned to improve drivers' visibility, with a large majority of MEPs voting in favour. The next step is for the European Union's Council of Ministers to approve the directive.
The family has now welcomed the results of a study carried out by the Loughborough Design School, which was commissioned by Transport for London (TfL.) The school, part of Loughborough University, concluded that an 80cm longer cab with a rounded nose, smaller dashboard, expanded glazed areas and a slightly lower driver position could drastically reduce fatal blind spots around the lorry cab.
The 'Direct Vision' lorry concept would increase the driver's field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today's designs, the academics found, and could save "hundreds" of cyclists' and pedestrians' lives.
Project lead Dr Steve Summerskill said: "Blind spots can be a significant factor in fatal accidents with lorries.
"The study shows that the size of these blind spots can be minimised through improved cab design."
Kate Cairns, who travelled to Brussels with TfL to lobby MEPs ahead of April's vote, said the study substantiated the family's calls that direct vision will save lives and called for politicians to act.
Kate, county councillor for Longhoughton, a trained civil engineer and independent sustainability consultant in the construction industry, living at Newton by the Sea where she is a parish councillor, said: "Victims and their families know in their bones that direct vision lorries will save lives; we know how often the drivers say SMIDSY (sorry mate I didn't see you); we know drivers are not always able to look in the right mirror at the right time.
"Time after time we watch with dread the inevitable amplification of anguish and grief when families realise their loved one has died in vain as they see the death toll by lorry continue to rise.
"This study is proving what is obvious to us but logic states that legislation and policy must be evidence lead. Now we have the evidence I trust that politicians will have the vision to do the right thing and ensure manufactures design safer lorries as matter of urgency. Every day of delay is risking another avoidable death on our roads."
GLEDSON WILHELMINA (Blyth). Bader House. In hospital after a short illness on 15th September, aged 95 years, Wilhelmina (Ina). Sadly missed by all her nieces and nephews. Service and cremation to take place at Cowpen Crematorium on Monday 6th October at 3.00pm. Friends please meet at the crematorium, donations may be given in lieu of flowers to The Teenage Cancer Trust, a donations box will be available at the crematorium.
KELLY PAUL (Ashington). Died peacefully in hospital on 22nd September 2014, aged 60 years, Paul, beloved husband of Lorraine, father of Wayne, Marie and family and Matt, a much loved brother of the Kellys. Will be sadly missed by all family and friends. Service to be held at St. Andrew''s Church, Ashington on Wednesday 1st October at 2.30pm, followed by private cremation at Cowpen Crematorium. Family flowers only please and donations in lieu if desired to Cancer Research UK.All enquiries to Co-operative Funeralcare, Ashington. Tel. (01670) 812095.
MEARNS PAULINE (Blyth) Formerly Whitley Bay. Passed away peacefully in her sleep at the Freeman Hospital on 23rd September 2014, aged 69 years. A much loved and deeply missed mum of Stephen, Derick, Anthony and Beverley, also a dear sister, motherin-law and grandma. When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. Please meet for Funeral Service at Whitley Bay Crematorium on Friday 3rd October at 3.45pm. Family flowers only please, retiring collection in lieu of flowers to Macmillan Nurses.
THOMAS (Newcastle upon Tyne). Peacefully on 23rd September, aged 89 yrs, Dr Thomas Saint General Practitioner, beloved husband of the late Louise, father to Michael, Mandy and Christopher, grandfather to six and great grandfather to one. A service will be held at St George''s Church, Jesmond on Thursday 2nd October at 10.30am, followed by cremation at West Road Crematorium, Newcastle. No flowers please donations to Northern Counties Kidney Research Fund.
Eilidh Cairns was killed while <B cycling to work in February 2009
Kate Cairns, right, with former MEP Fiona Hall, with whom she campaigned