BATH, N.C. (WITN) - As summer approaches in the East, more outdoor activities are on the horizon, but one group of avid cyclists says everyone who shares the road needs to be on the lookout.
Monday, that group rode in solidarity for their friend who suffered extreme injuries earlier this month when she was riding her bike.
“The drivers here, generally, are very considerate of cyclists. We’re lucky. We hear horror stories all over the place,” said Jill Paxson’s friend Liane Harsh.
About halfway through the month of April, Paxson was involved in her own horror story, a crash with a pickup truck on River Road in Washington.
She broke 17 ribs, each of her limbs, her jaw, her collar bone, her sternum, and was hospitalized in the ICU for over a week.
With hefty medical bills racking up, the cyclist’s friends mounted their bikes, over the bridge from Washington to Bath, and bought shrimp platters to help her out.
“I was out on a ride just out here the other day and I was like, ‘What can I do to help? What can I do to have a positive influence to help her out?’” said a fellow cyclist, Jeff Staton. “This is what came to my mind. We discussed it with the guys and thought this was perfect.”
Cars and bicycles shared the drive-thru lane to get their dinners, all with the injured rider on the minds.
“She always says, when we’re going into the wind or we’re going up a little hill, she always says, ‘And we’re climbing!’” recalled Harsh. “So, all weekend long that was kind of the phrase. We hit some really strong headwinds and we’d quote Jill.”
Also on their minds, was a warning sign to be careful out there.
“It just reminds me that we all need to take that extra moment to double-check, look before you turn, listen before you turn. You can hear cars sometimes before you see them,” said Harsh.
For, now, they wait for the day they can ride the roads of the East with their friend once again.
Paxson’s friends have raised nearly $25,000 to assist with her recovery and medical bills through a GoFundMe page.
Last week, Paxson was taken off of her ventilator for periods of up to four hours and she was moved to a long term care facility where she’ll undergo intensive rehabilitation.
Although there is a difficult time ahead of her, the rider’s family is happy to see her responsive.
WITN is waiting to hear back from Highway Patrol about the details of this crash.
Every story you see here is written, filmed, edited, fronted, and day-turned by Maddie. As an MMJ with WITN, she really does it all!