Updated 10:58 a.m.
A Davidson bicyclist was seriously injured on Sunday, July 4, when she was struck by an SUV while riding on Faith Road in Mount Mourne, just north of Davidson. She was in intensive care at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on Monday with a fractured spine and punctured lung, but was “hanging in there,” her husband says.
Julie Zimmerman, an avid runner and cyclist who lives in the McConnell neighborhood, was on a solo ride around 1 p.m. Sunday when the incident occurred.
Trooper M. Childres of the N.C. Highway Patrol said she was eastbound on Faith Road, which runs between N.C. 115 and Shearers Road. A driver in a Toyota Land Cruiser that was also eastbound came up behind Ms. Zimmerman and struck her, the trooper said.
She was taken by ambulance to Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, but her injuries were so serious that she was immediately flown by Medic helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, the trooper said.
Trooper Childres said no charges have been filed in the crash, which remains under investigation. He said word of any charges could come later this week.
Ms. Zimmerman’s husband, Matt, said he doesn’t know any more about the details of the accident, other than what witnesses told police.
He has been keeping fellow cyclists updated about her condition. He told DavidsonNews.net Monday that her spine is fractured in two places, she has broken ribs and a punctured lung, and cuts on her head and knee.
HANGING IN THERE’
“She is hanging in there,” said Dr. Zimmerman, a chiropractor. “She is in and out of consciousness. But she’s tough as nails.”
He said his wife is in excellent physical condition from running and cycling, and competes in triathlons. “Thank god she’s an athlete,” he said. “Her lung capacity and core strength – if it wasn’t for that she wouldn’t be with us.”
Dr. Zimmerman welcomed the outpouring of support that has come from fellow cyclists, neighbors and friends. “The outpouring of thoughts and prayers has been outstanding, which is just another testament to how great Davidson is,” he said.
PLEAS FOR SAFETY
The incident is the latest in a series of cyclist accidents on rural area roads that have sent shock waves through the local bicycling community. In each case, cyclists have pleaded for better awareness of cyclists and their rights to be on the road.
On Monday, Dr. Zimmerman – who is on the town’s Greenways, Bikeways and Trails advisory board – offered a plea of his own to drivers: “Share the roads. We live in a great community, but there are still lots of people out there who don’t know that cyclists deserve to ride on the road, and we just all need to slow down and take a moment and not blow by cyclists.”
In an email circulated among local cyclists Sunday, a fellow cyclist wrote: “As we celebrate the weekend, please keep Julie and the Zimmerman family in your prayers. We all love to cycle and forget how quickly tragedy can strike. Be safe out there.”
In May, a Rowan County man was charged with ploughing his SUV into a group of cyclists on a rural road in Cabarrus County. Four people were hurt in that crash.
Area cyclists keep a map of bike accidents on a website called Charlottevelo.com.