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Spin doctor Campbell backs road safety campaign

PUBLISHED: 10:06 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:43 07 September 2010

Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell

GOSPEL OAK'S Alastair Campbell has given his backing to a road safety campaign led by the family of Eilidh Cairns, the Kentish Town cyclist who was crushed to death under the wheels of a lorry. Calls for tougher safety standards for HGVs le

Ben McPartland

GOSPEL OAK'S Alastair Campbell has given his backing to a road safety campaign led by the family of Eilidh Cairns, the Kentish Town cyclist who was crushed to death under the wheels of a lorry.

Calls for tougher safety standards for HGVs led by Ms Cairns' sister Kate has seen an early day motion tabled in parliament to try and raise awareness of the dangers posed to cyclists on London's roads by trucks.

According to figures produced by the campaign group, lorries account for 45 per cent of all London cyclist deaths, yet represent only five per cent of road traffic.

And Mr Campbell wants MPs to take heed of their concerns.

He said: "Politicians of all parties are rightly encouraging people to use bikes more. There are good environmental and health reasons for that. But as more people take up cycling, so there has to be greater focus on the safety of cyclists.

"I have followed this campaign with some interest and know something of the tragedies that have led to its creation.

"The Early Day Motion is the latest stage of their campaign and I hope MPs of all parties will support it as a way of signalling their support for making the roads safer for cyclists, and cutting the number of deaths involving collisions with HGV lorries."

Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of Eilidh's death. The experienced cyclist was crushed under the wheels of a truck at a junction in Notting Hill Gate as she cycled her usual route to work.

Last week the Ham&High reported coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe's ruling that Eilidh died as the result of an accident, much to the anger of her family.

They had hoped that the coroner would use her powers to recommend changes to the law to protect similar accidents happening again.

In 2009 13 cyclists were killed on London roads. Nine died as the result of collisions with lorries, of which eight were female.

Campaigners are lobbying for additional lorry safety equipment including, side sensors, in-cab supervision systems, class VI safety mirrors and audible warnings. They are also recommending additional cycle training and restricted HGV city access.

Kate Cairns told the Ham&High this week: "We need to address the source of the danger. Policies of protection are not enough. I think we should be considering future lorry design, how compatible they are with our streets and the way the fleets are managed.

"By supporting this EDM MPs are working towards finding a real solution. It makes sense when all benefits are taken into account.

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