Hundreds take part in 'Ride for Roberta' event in Encinitas to honor injured cyclist

Cyclists took to the road in Encinitas Saturday morning, Dec. 15, for an event held in honor of a local community leader and an advocate for bicycle and pedestrian safety who was seriously injured when she was struck while cycling more than a week ago.

The event, dubbed "Ride for Roberta," started at the Leucadia Post Office, not far from where Roberta Walker was hit early the morning of Dec. 8 while cycling on North Coast Highway 101. According to a Facebook post, it was billed as a peaceful demonstration advocating "a rider's right to safety on the road."

Walker, 42, is executive director of the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association and an advocate for bike and pedestrian improvements to roadways in cities. She was wearing a helmet and riding in a lane meant to be shared by vehicles and bicycles when she was hit by a truck and thrown from her bicycle.

She was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Her injuries included a brain bleed, a spinal injury and broken ribs.

Since the collision, Walker has undergone several surgeries. Her friends and family are posting updates on her condition online at heambailey.wixsite.com/roberta.

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said "a couple hundred" people showed up to the Saturday event, which was organized by Kellie Shay Hinze, a friend of Walker's and the executive director of the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association, a community development organization like the one Walker leads.

"It was designed to provide a space for people to grieve over (Walker's) tragedy and also to ride on Highway 101, which she loved to do," Blakespear said of the event, adding that the group's overall goal was to present a unified message of "safer streets for everyone."

—Dana Littlefield is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune

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