Sally Meyerhoff Tragedy Shouldn't Scare Athletes Off the Road

Maressa Brown
5

cyclist Sally Meyerhoff, a 27-year-old runner, was killed yesterday afternoon. She had been the winner of the women's 2011 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and she had qualified for the 2012 Olympic marathon trials.

Meyerhoff's death was completely an accident.

According to a press release from Maricopa County, preliminary investigations show that she failed to yield at the intersection and collided with a pick-up truck. There were no indications of impairment of the driver of the pick-up truck.

It's tragic to realize that Meyerhoff could have been headed to the Olympics next year. She had such a bright future ahead of her, and now, she's gone ...

I'm not sure what Meyerhoff was like, but I can't help but wonder if the same drive that made her such a competitive athlete translated to a feeling of invincibility. Or was this just the result of a careless accident? Either is possible. One thing is for sure ... there are always going to be dangers associated with running/cross-training/cycling. Not that this incident should keep athletes from doin' their thing! But it should serve as a reminder that exercising caution is crucial, especially when engaging in these sports in public -- on busy roads.

Around where I used to work, there's a LOT of tension between drivers and runners or cyclists. Doesn't matter that there are lots of signs on the road asking drivers to please share the road. It seems impossible for either party to make it work. Sometimes, cyclists will take up an entire lane, and on a two-lane road, it just doesn't make sense to me that a driver should have to slow down to 15 mph to travel behind a cyclist. On the other hand, I've seen drivers misbehaving badly around cyclists, cutting them off, honking, swerving around them, etc.

What will take to get cyclists and motorists to respect one another? Maybe more tickets being handed out? It would be GREAT if they could put in a cyclists' lane, but you know that's not going to happen in every town in every state. Hopefully, though, it doesn't take more lives lost for people to realize cyclists and motorists have to be more aware of one another to avoid mishaps while safely cruising the same road.

Sadly, as Meyerhoff was considered one of the top female marathon runners in the country, this is a significant loss for not only Meyerhoff's family, but also the sports world, Arizona, and America.

 

Image via whatleydude/Flickr

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