Widow toasts Euro vote over lorry safety rules

Barbara and Mike Ellis, pictured in June 2011.

Barbara and Mike Ellis, pictured in June 2011.

First published in News by

THE widow of a man who was killed when he was in collision with an 18-tonne lorry in Blockley has welcomed a European vote which approved a change to safety rules.

Barbara Ellis, aged 49, who has been campaigning to make it a legal requirement to have rearview cameras fitted on all commercial vehicles, said the move was a "real step forward".

Her husband Mike, who worked as a shop manger for 10 years at Watsonian Squire, based in the Northwick Business Centre in Blockley, was killed on April 2, 2012, in the business park after an 18-tonne lorry in front of him reversed as he was test-riding a motorbike.

The 41-year-old died at the scene from multiple crush injuries after the lorry dragged him and his motorbike under the wheels for more than 80metres before the driver noticed the wheels of the bike sticking out from beneath the vehicle.

Last week, the European Parliament approved design laws that will relax the length limits on lorries, on the condition that cabs have larger windows, a crumple zone and a rounded front to ensure anyone who is hit is pushed to the side and not dragged under the wheels.

Mrs Ellis, who lives in Bromsberrow Heath, near Ledbury, said the move was a real step forward in lorry safety.

"Unfortunately they are not currently addressing the issue of blind spots to the rear of the lorries but it greatly improves the blind spot to the front and the sides so that's a real positive," said the mother-of-three.

"I'm 100 per cent supportive of it. While I'm focussing on the rear view element, I'm supporting all sorts of road safety."

Present length restrictions on lorries encourage manufacturers to build driver cabs that are short and flat-fronted to maximise capacity at the rear but this means cabs have blind spots and no crash protection.

Mrs Ellis, who launched the campaign RearView last year following her husband's tragic death, is also focussing on driver training to make people more aware of the dangers when reversing.

"It was avoidable, that's hat makes me so angry," she said. "I wouldn't want anybody to go through that, it's such an horrific way to be killed. I'm very concerned it just doesn't happen again.

"It shouldn't have happened but it has happened and I have to try and turn it into some more positive."

For more information on the campaign visit rearview.org.uk.

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