Yesterday afternoon Sir Alan Beith spoke in support of his private member's Bill which would "require the Secretary of State to make provision requiring the fitting of equipment to heavy goods vehicles to eliminate driver blind spots; to make other provisions relating to the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and other road users; and for connected purposes". The Bill passed its first reading. This development, like similar proposals that achieved widespread support in the European Parliament and are now before the Commission, result directly from the hard work of the family of Eilidh Cairns.
I have said plenty on these pages already about the hazards presented to cyclists by lorries. Let us hope that the old acceptance that lorries can be permitted onto our crowded streets with 'blind spots' will soon be a thing of the past. I see that the Bill is also supported by Dr Julian Huppert, whose good sense I have already noted.
I am relieved to see sense being talked in Parliament after the disproportionate reaction to the unfortunate, but extremely rare, death of a pedestrian after being run down by a cyclist which led to Andrea Leadsom's private member's Bill earlier this year.
I have also seen this week on The One Show, James Cracknell calling for legislation mandating cycle helmets. Mr Cracknell is plainly a nice guy who cycles but he is in league with the definitely non-cycling Angie Lee (who chooses to lecture children on the hazards of cycling without a helmet rather than on the dangers of diabetes and heart disease). Despite the failure of his helmet to save him from a very serious brain injury, James Cracknell genuinely believes that he would be worse off without the helmet. He goes so far as to condemn non helmeted cyclists for not thinking of their relatives. What I cannot understand is where were the thoughts for Mr Cracknell's relatives on the part of the lorry driver who apparently slammed his wing mirror into the back of James's head at 70 mph? I would be interested in a follow up story that indicates whether this driver is now languishing in a prison cell or still driving a truck. I cannot understand why some are more focussed upon the dubious benefits of a helmet rather than on ensuring that these lorry/cyclist collisions do not happen. I applaud Sir Alan for grasping the right end of the stick.