Team GB cyclist Rebecca Romero has joined a campaign aiming to force HGVs to be fitted with the latest blind spot equipment to improve cyclist safety on the roads.
Romero, competitive cyclist Elise Sherwell (nee Laverick) and national charity Brake are backing calls from the bereaved family of Eilidh Cairns – a cyclist run over and killed by a truck – for the European Parliament to improve HGV safety through new laws.
MEPs have until February 17th to consider a written declaration on HGV safety tabled by Fiona Hall MEP, proposing new trucks should be fitted with the latest blind spot equipment. Member of the public are being urged to join the campaign and call on their MEP to sign 'WD81'.
According to a European Commission paper from 2006, around 400 people are killed every year by HGV blind spots, with cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists most at risk.
Kate Cairns, bereaved sister of Eilidh Cairns, and competitive cyclist Elise Sherwell demonstrated the dangers of truck blind spots this afternoon. The demo was run by CEMEX – a building materials supplier that has fitted new blind spot devices to its HGV fleet.
Kate Cairns said: “Eilidh’s death has affected more people than we could have imagined; there are so many that loved her. It’s vital that truck visibility is addressed to prevent more needless deaths among cyclists. It is outrageous that so many HGVs are allowed to ‘share’ road space with vulnerable users but are not required to have even this simple and low cost safety equipment that is proven to save cyclists’ lives. "
Rebecca Romero, Olympic gold-medal winning Team GB cyclist, added: “It’s tragic so many cyclists lose their lives each year by being hit by commercial vehicles, often as a result of the driver failing to see them – yet many of these tragedies could be prevented by devices fitted to vehicles to reduce blind spots. I’m backing Brake’s campaign calling on all commercial vehicle operators to fit devices that help drivers spot people on bikes and on foot.”
Fiona Hall MEP, who tabled the European written declaration, said: “Sensors and cameras should be compulsory on all lorries so that drivers are always aware when someone is close to their vehicle. This is everyday technology that is used to help car drivers with parking – on lorries it will save lives.”