This story has been updated since publication to include information about the accident and statements from Circulate SD executive Director Colin Parent
The executive director of the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association, a staunch pedestrian and cycling advocate, was critically injured Saturday morning when she was struck by a truck while riding her bicycle in Leucadia.
Roberta Walker was struck shortly after 6 a.m. on North Coast Highway 101 in front of the Leucadia Post Office. The impact of the collision threw her a significant distance and she was briefly unconscious.
According to both Sheriff’s officials and Walker’s family, both Walker and the truck were headed southbound in the “sharrow” lane, a lane designated for both bicycle and vehicle use. The Coast News has asked the Sheriff’s department to provide more details in regards to the accident, and the story will be updated as information is available.
Walker was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where she is listed in critical but stable condition after suffering serious injuries to her brain and spine, as well as several broken bones, according to Kellie Shay Hinze, Walker’s friend and executive director of Cardiff 101’s sister organization, Leucadia 101 Main Street.
Hinze said that Walker was wearing her helmet at the time of the accident. Sheriff’s Sgt. Luis Cruz confirmed this to The Coast News.
“She’s the most careful of bike riders and always wears her helmet,” Hinze said. “It could have been any of us that chose to opt out of car travel and enjoy Encinitas on bike.”
Walker, a former professional snowboarder who previously served as the policy advisor and grant specialist for former County Supervisor Dave Roberts, is an avid cyclist, environmentalist, surfer, yogi and gardener, according to Cardiff 101’s website.
She has been an outspoken supporter of the proposed Leucadia Streetscape because of the improvements to a stretch of Coast Highway 101 notorious for being unsafe for cyclist and pedestrians.
Tributes poured in from people who knew Walker in her advocacy, sporting and public service roles.
“She has been a fierce advocate for safe biking and walking facilities for many years and I know she will continue to inspire this community to do better for the safety of our local streets of Encinitas,” Hinze said.
Colin Parent, the executive director of Circulate SD, which advocates for public transportation and active transportation throughout the region, echoed Hinze’s sentiments.
“Advocates for bicycle safety are often avid cyclists, and they are vulnerable road users themselves,” Parent said. “This incident is another reminder that cities across the region should commit themselves to upgrading their street infrastructure to prevent serious collisions.”
Sheriff’s officials said that the truck driver, who remained at the scene, was not under the influence and he wasn’t arrested, but an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Friends and family of Walker have set up a website to give people updates about her progress, https://heambailey.wixsite.com/roberta. They ask that no one calls the hospital for updates and that any correspondence be forwarded through the website at this time.