Editor, Daily Nexus,
Again, we are blaming the victim. Kendra Payne, a young bicyclist and UCSB triathlete, was on a morning ride up Gibraltar Road, when she was killed by an asphalt truck attempting to pass her. The driver was not cited. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) report stated that she apparently lost control of her bicycle and was thrown onto the roadway and under the trailer. The reader gets the impression: Tragic accident, but her own fault.
But why would an experienced bicyclist riding slowly uphill lose control just as this truck is trying to pass her? It happened at the hairpin curve just above Flores Flat, and the truck passed her with only about a foot of clearance. This is unsafe under any circumstances, but especially on a curving mountain road. It is more than likely that the truck passing so close caused her to fall. The CHP report is obviously based only on the driver’s statement, as Kendra was dying and her companions were out of sight, riding ahead. It is disturbing that the CHP would publish the driver’s statement as though it were a fact and then have it repeated by all the news media. We expect from the CHP a thorough investigation of this horrible accident. Kendra was a special young woman, vibrant and full of promise. She is now dead. We demand justice for Kendra Payne.