North County bike safety advocate hit by truck while cycling

ENCINITAS, Calif. -- A North County community leader who's known as a bicycle and pedestrian safety advocate was hit by a truck and seriously injured while riding her bicycle in Encinitas early Saturday.

The crash happened shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday on North Coast Highway 101 near Phoebe Street, San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Dave Perkins said.

The victim was Roberta Walker, executive director of the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association, The Coast News reported. Walker is known as a staunch defender of pedestrian and cyclist rights.

Updates on Roberta Walker's condition

She was taken to a hospital in critical condition, Perkins said. Walker suffered injuries to her brain and spine, as well as broken bones, according to The Coast News.

Walker's friends and supporters set up a website and a blog to give updates on her condition.

“That is a really sickening irony we’re having to face today,” said Kellie Shay Hinze, Executive Director of Leucadia 101 Main Street Association. “She’s the second person that sustained a life altering injury in the last year, so we had two near fatal collisions on this stretch of highway in just over a year.”

Hinze said that part of Walker's work for Cardiff 101 was promoting a more walkable neighborhood. Cardiff 101 Main Street is an organization that promotes "a safe and healthy environment" and "a walkable community that provides goods and services for local residents and visitors alike" in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, according to the organization's website. A biographical page on the groups' website describes Walker as a passionate cyclist. She's known as a supporter of the proposed Leucadia Streetscape project, which would add roundabouts, bike lanes and sidewalks to a stretch of North Coast Highway 101, including the area where she was struck.

“This is an out dated piece of infrastructure,” said Hinze, “It was built to be a freeway in the 1920s.”

Hinze said $6.5 million has been set aside for the Streetscape project.  After Walker's tragic accident,  activists are urging the Encinitas City Council to act quickly to implement the changes.

“We knew this was going to happen!" Hinze said.  "She has been to so many public meetings these last three years, just asking for 'Streetscape' to happen and happen in a timely way to keep more death and injury from happening right here on our own local streets.”

Alcohol and drugs were not considered to be factors in the crash, investigators said.

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