Residents, local leaders attend ‘Ride for Roberta’

Residents, local leaders attend ‘Ride for Roberta’
San Diego resident Bob Hood rides for Roberta Walker at the Ride for Roberta event Saturday, Dec. 15th in Leucadia. “It’s always a tragedy when someone gets injured on the road,” said Hood. Photo by Gina Onori

ENCINITAS — The sound of bicycle bells filled the air as over 100 residents and local leaders gathered on Saturday, Dec. 15 in Leucadia to support cycling advocate Roberta Walker and highlight concerns over transportation safety.

Walker, executive director of Cardiff 101 Main Street Association, was severely injured on Dec. 8 after being hit by a truck while riding her bicycle on North Coast Highway 101 near the Leucadia Post Office.

The “Ride for Roberta” event was hosted by Walker’s friend and colleague, Leucadia 101 executive director Kellie Shay Hinze.

Carris Rhodes, Herb Lowe, and Grace Brown join hands for a moment of silence and prayer for Roberta Walker before cycling at the Ride for Roberta event in Leucadia on Dec. 15th in her honor. Photo by Gina Onori

The gathering was held near the location where Walker was struck and was an opportunity for the community to advocate for bike safety and support Walker as she recovers, according to Hinze.

“We are trying to uplift Roberta’s spirit,” Hinze said. “When she wakes up we want to show her that we’ve accomplished things and that there’s a beautiful show of support. She is one of the strongest and most dedicated people that we know and we want to have something to show for that.”

In addition to being a community leader, Walker is also a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian safety advocate, with a passion for keeping the streets of Leucadia safe for everyone, according to her friends.  

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear talks about the tragedy of Roberta Walker’s accident at the Ride for Roberta event on Sat Dec 15. “When somebody who fights for a safer road is hit on her bicycle on one of the roads that she’s fighting for there’s a cruelty and a tragedy in that so were here today to see that and recognize that but to also turn that into hope and commitment in the better world that she’s fighting for and that were all fighting for,” Blakespear said. Photo by Gina Onori

“This is about bringing awareness to people and understanding that there’s a huge cycling community here,” said Leucadia resident Grace Brown. “I feel a lot of people don’t really understand what the sharrow lanes are or that the cyclists have the right to be in the lanes, so I’m hoping that people will finally understand more about what it means to be on the road with cyclists and what it means to be on the road together.”

Walker is also an ardent supporter of the proposed Leucadia Streetscape, a project started 10 years ago to enhance the North Coast Highway 101 corridor.

Encinitas Associate Planner Geoff Plagemann explained how improvements should increase safety in that corridor as previously reported by The Coast News, stating, “Components for this project include traffic calming measures and dedicated buffered bike lanes in the area. The Streetscape Project will enhance the environment for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

The project includes a bike lane, enhanced crosswalks, raised medians, roundabouts, increased parking options, public art and various landscaping elements.

“It’s time for us to move forward,” state Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath said. “This community has come together for 10 years to work on the North Coast 101 Streetscape and what we need now more than ever is strong voices that say we are not going to accept any more delay. It’s our time to come forward to make sure we finish what we started so this doesn’t have to happen again.”

A prayer and meditation was conducted as cyclists joined hands in unison before waves of cyclists began their ride through Leucadia and along the coastline. 

Cyclists take the streets for the Ride for Roberta event Sat Dec 15th in honor of executive director of the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association Roberta Walker. Photo by Gina Onori

According to officials, both Walker and a truck were headed southbound in the sharrow lane, a lane designated for both vehicles and bicycles, when the accident occurred. 

Walker was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where she is currently in critical, yet stable condition, suffering serious injuries to her brain and spine, as well as several broken bones.

“When somebody who fights for a safer road is hit on her bicycle on one of the roads that she’s fighting for, there’s a cruelty and a tragedy in that,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We’re here today to see that and recognize that but to also turn that into hope and commitment in the better world that she’s fighting for and that were all fighting for.”

Friends and family have set up a website to provide status updates on Walker’s progress and request that any correspondences be forwarded to the website at this time.

4 Comments
  1. taxpayerconcerns 3 months ago

    It was a tragic accident.
    Here is a comment from another Coast News article:
    Eli
    5 days ago
    I was one of the first people to stop on the scene of this accident, yes it is tragic but the bike in question had no lights or reflectors on it and the rider was not wearing a Reflective vest. We need to improve safety for bike riding no question but this accident was at dawns light and bikers need to play their part in the work of safety on the 101. I wish Miss Walker a Swift recovery.

    • Christine Purkiss 3 months ago

      I was also there when Roberta Walker was hit on 12/8. The accident was horrible, and I still question WHY Roberta was riding down the middle of the lane in darkness (no light on her bike??) The driver of the vehicle was not from the area, very distraught & shaking violently. I used his phone to call 911 & inform them of the location.
      I would never ever ever ever wish something so terrible to happen to a cyclist. I used to cycle from Long Beach to Corona del Mar & back. There have always been cyclists who are smart & safe but many who are arrogant and foolish (same goes for drivers). That’s not going to change. This is not a personal attack on Ms Walker or to diminish what happened to her, but it seemed manipulative and one sided to see the bike rally on 12/15 used to fast track the project. (sigh) Growing congestion is at the core, and by the time this project is finished it will be outdated & accidents will continue to happen and cyclists will get injured.
      I need to mention, at 5:30 AM this week I looked out my kitchen window (a block from where Roberta was hit) and there was total gridlock between an Amazon delivery van and a massive construction truck. If one my neighbors had needed emergency responders we would be in deep trouble. If I can be convinced that reducing HWY 101 from 4 to 2 lanes would be safer for the cyclists, drivers, and neighbors, I would be in total support the Streetscape project.

  2. Leann 3 months ago

    I drive this road southbound on Monday thru Friday around 6 am. I am very aware of the shared bicycle lane, however more times than not I encounter a biker not wearing reflective clothes, nor are there lights on the bicycle to be seen in the dark. I share the roads with bicycles, it would be nice for them to use lights in the dark hours just like we as drivers are required to use our vehicles lights to be seen. I am sad that these accidents do happen.

  3. Chris Purkiss 3 months ago

    I live a block away and was also there when Roberta Walker was hit on 12/8. The accident was horrible, and I still question WHY Roberta was riding down the middle of the lane in darkness (no light on her bike??) The driver of the vehicle was not from the area, very distraught & shaking violently.
    I read “In addition to being a community leader, Walker is also a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian safety advocate, with a passion for keeping the streets of Leucadia safe for everyone” ….so why was she riding in the dark w/ no reflective gear or light. (why didn’t she use Neptune?). I used to cycle from Long Beach to Corona del Mar & back. There have always been cyclists who are smart & safe but many who are arrogant and foolish (same goes for drivers). That’s not going to change. This is not a personal attack on Ms Walker but it seemed manipulative and one sided to see the bike rally on 12/15 used to fast track the project. Growing congestion is at the core of our problems and I can’t see how 4 lanes to 2 is a solution. I consider my car a necessary evil, but like most working people in the area a car necessity. The area has become SO overdeveloped without first addressing our roads, and gridlock has become the new normal. (Follow the $$).

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