Sister loses fight over cycle death

 

The sister of an "enthusiastic and proficient" woman cyclist killed by a lorry has lost her High Court battle for a fresh inquest to investigate "the huge problem" of cycling deaths in London.

A judge ruled he was not satisfied that a new hearing would result in a different verdict.

Eilidh Cairns, 30, a television producer, was riding through London's Notting Hill Gate in morning rush hour traffic on February 5, 2009 when her bike was trapped by a tipper truck.

Seriously injured, she lay under the wheels of the 32-tonne vehicle still conscious and able to talk to witnesses. She was airlifted to hospital but died hours later.

She was one of nine cyclists killed by heavy goods vehicles on London's roads in 2009 - eight of them women.

Anna Morris, appearing for the family, had told the judge: "There was a failure to consider the wider impact of Eilidh's death and the huge problem facing cyclists in London."

An inquest held on January 22 2010 at Westminster Coroner's Court heard that Miss Cairns had been cycling to work from her home in Hampstead Heath.

To her family's dismay, the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Her sister, Kate Cairns, 38, asked Mr Justice Silber, sitting at London's High Court, to quash the verdict and order a fresh inquest, accusing Dr Shirley Radcliffe, Deputy Coroner for Inner West London, of failing in her duty to carry out an adequate investigation, and to consider making recommendations that could prevent similar tragedies in the future.

But the judge rejected the application and said he was "a long way from being satisfied" that a fresh inquest would reach a different verdict.

Describing Miss Cairns as an enthusiastic and proficient cyclist, the judge said a police officer involved in the collision investigation had explained that he was "unaware of anything which could be done to prevent accidents of the kind in which Miss Cairns was tragically killed".

The judge said: "I am conscious that this judgment will be a disappointment to the Cairns family to whom we all send our deepest sympathy, but my duty is to apply the law, which I have sought to do.

Ms Morris said at a recent hearing that the family's perception was that the inquest was "perfunctory" and the coroner appeared "unwilling" to explore any issues which related to how the truck driven by Portuguese lorry driver Joao Lopes came to collide with Miss Cairns' bike.

She said the coroner had failed to comply with her statutory duties to "fully, fairly and fearlessly" investigate the facts surrounding the incident.

Mr Lopes claimed he did not see Miss Cairns. He later pleaded guilty at Kingston Magistrates' Court to a charge of driving with defective vision. He received three points on his licence and was fined £200.

But at the inquest the coroner drew a line under the questioning as to whether Mr Lopes had made adequate visual checks just before the collision, said Ms Morris.

Dr Radcliffe had been generally unwilling to explore the manner in which the truck was being driven seconds before the accident, she added.

The coroner had also failed to consider whether she could make recommendations under Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules aimed at preventing further accidents.

Kate Cairns, a mother-of-three from Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, said a proper inquest into her sister's death was vital to help stop the growing number of cyclist deaths involving lorries.

She said: "It is a national issue, not just London."

The family has launched a See Me, Save Me campaign for the mandatory installation of cameras and sensors in lorries to eliminate blind spots.

They are calling for action in the European Parliament, with the support of Fiona Hall MEP.

Ms Cairns said: "Clearly it is an issue that needs addressing. Since Eilidh's death there have been 19 other cyclists killed by lorries in the capital - almost half the cyclists killed in London.

"What we want is for the professionals to do their job and carry out a thorough investigation into how Eilidh died.

"For my own peace of mind, I want to know why I have got to live every day without my little sister and why my parents have had to bury their daughter."

Jonathan Hough, appearing for the coroner, argued that Dr Radcliffe had been faced with a type of road traffic accident, in which a cyclist had been killed by an HGV, which was "tragically common".

There was no special feature which had given the coroner reason to think "that it illustrated a systemic problem or that it might call for some specific response".

Mr Hough successfully contended there was nothing in the argument that the coroner had improperly restricted the questioning of Mr Lopes.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup