NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - A bicyclist who collided with a truck during the 25th annual Bike MS race in New Bern has passed away.
According to the Highway Patrol, 69-year-old Nancy Swackhamer died at Vidant Medical Center Tuesday morning.
Swackhamer was riding her bicycle north on Highway 43 near Spring Garden Road during the Bike MS race on Sept. 7. Behind her was a Ford F-450, being driven by 64-year-old Jimmy Ipock, troopers said.
Ipock tried to pass Swackhamer as she was turning left onto Spring Garden Road, and that was when they collided, said investigators.
Swackhamer was taken to Vidant Medical Center with serious injuries, including broken bones and internal bleeding , according to troopers.
No charges were filed in the accident. Troopers said it was unclear who was at fault.
"It's a tragedy," said Tom Hewitt, owner of Atomic Cycles in New Bern. "It's something that can certainly be prevented."
Hewitt advises cyclists to make themselves visible by wearing bright clothing and riding bicycles with reflectors. He also said it's important for cyclists and drivers to work together.
"It's an education thing and awareness thing, so we can get motorists and bicyclists just as aware of each other and watching out for each other as much as possible," Hewitt said.
Jeff Furst, president of the National MS Society's Greater Carolinas Chapter, confirmed Swackhamer was participating in the MS ride. Furst stressed the importance of driving safely around bicyclists.
"We do training for our cyclists to make sure they are as safe as they can be on the road, so [it's important] for motorists to please keep your eyes open when you're traveling at a high rate of speed," Furst said.
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