In any battle between bikers and motorized vehicles, the person on the bike usually loses. Sally Meyerhoff, a 27-year-old athlete who was in training to compete in the 2012 Olympics, is the latest victim. She was struck by a truck at around 1:30 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday as she crossed an intersection during a training ride in Arizona. Reports indicate she was killed on impact.

A track star in her Phoenix-area high school and an All-American athlete at Duke University, Meyerhoff qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials after her first 26-miler, P.F Chang's Rock 'n’ Roll Arizona Marathon, completing the race in just 2:42:45. She followed that event with the ING New York City Marathon and, in between, won the XTERRA Trail Running World Championship.

Of course, competing in marathons and triathlons (even when you win) doesn’t pay the bills. Though she had just signed on for a couple of lucrative sponsorship deals, Meyerhoff worked as a substitute teacher and coached to make ends meet. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 700 people die every year in bike-car related accidents, and about 500,000 end up in emergency rooms. And bicycle deaths are under-reported, according to bike advocacy sites, as police often don't write tickets when a bike-car accident occurs and the rider isn't hurt.

Below is a video interview with Meyerhoff, taped on Feb. 12, 2011, after she had won the Skirt Chaser 5K in Tempe for the fourth consecutive year:

Photo courtesy Duke University

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Olympic hopeful Sally Meyerhoff killed in cycling accident
27-year-old Arizona athlete hit by a truck while trying to earn a berth at the 2012 Olympics.