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SEE ME SAVE ME: A Northumberland woman has been fighting for enhanced HGV safety following the death of her sister

 

Meet Kate, a Northumberland woman who has been working tirelessly for years for enhanced HGV safety with the See Me Save Me campaign.

Kate's sister Eilidh was killed in London in 2009 when a lorry ran her over on her bicycle. Kate soon learned that a recurring theme amongst HGV fatalities was that the driver just didn't see the person.

The objective of See Me Save Me is to challenge industry, policymakers and the justice system to eliminate deaths by HGVs. Kate has challenged on all three counts. She successfully campaigned to change legislation and policy at European, national and regional level. She led the call for direct vision lorries at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2010, lobbying with friends and family of Eilidh alongside MEP Fiona Hall for mandatory cameras and sensors. Further lobbying followed in Brussels in 2011, with Transport for London (TfL) for amendment to European Directive 96/53 to improve direct visibility of HGV cabs (seemesaveme.org/policy).

This change set the scene for TfL to develop the London Mayor’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS), in consultation with See Me Save Me, other campaign groups, the freight industry and fleet operators.

The pioneering standard, launched by the London Mayor in March, has delivered a radical improvement to road safety in the capital. Three months on data shows that the vital scheme which reduces lethal blind spots is already helping save lives and prevent life-changing injuries.

The standard incorporates both direct and indirect vision measures called for by Kate. 4,000 of the 136,000 safety permits have been issued to vehicles incorporating the new cab design which gives the highest level of direct vision; and nearly 70,000 vehicles have been fitted cameras and sensors to improve indirect vision.

Kate said:

“The success of the DVS shows how tenacity, courage to challenge, and willingness to collaborate can change culture. We remember the thousands of lives lost since the death of Eilidh over this decade of change. Whilst this is great news for the capital, we must consider where those lorries which are no longer permitted in London will be deployed. To ensure safe lorries are ubiquitous we need to embed equivalent standards, policy and best practice across the UK.

 “This is win-win: Adoption of best practice to minimise construction impact and road risk helps deliver on vision zero, net zero, sustainable travel and health strategies too.”

Kate, chartered civil engineer and chartered environmentalist, has won several national awards for ability to bring change, is now working with northern metro mayors, cycling and walking commissioners and local authorities to ensure the safest lorries are on our streets by delivering construction logistics planning training and advising on procurement and planning policies.


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