In his weekly biking column, Patch contributer Mark Blacknell revisited this recent tradegy:
On Monday morning, Ita Lapina was out for a walk on Four Mile Run Trail. According to the police, a cyclist travelling in the same direction rang his bell and called out “to your left!” as he attempted to pass. Lapina stepped to the left as she turned towards the cyclist, who struck her. She fell, hitting her head on the trail. She succumbed to her injuries Monday evening.
Blacknell also discussed bike safety, the importance of sharing the trails among walkers, runners and cyclists and some common rules of the road - some of his suggestions are as easy as installing a bike bell.
As always, the topic of bike safety set off a heated debate on Patch.
Michael Doan wrote, "Good advice. If you see a very old or very young pedestrian, slow to a crawl. And the bell is a good warning (though mine keep breaking.) What a tragic accident."
Biking Yogini said, "Many pedestrians on the trail don't understand that when a bicyclist says passing on your left they should move to the right. I signaled my intent to pass on the left when a man pushing a baby stroller instead veered in front of me on the Custis Trail. Instead of hitting him I slammed on my brakes and ended up breaking my pelvis in a bad crash."
Sarah Richards said bells are only part of the solution. "As a cyclist and a walker, the biggest problem with bells is that most people who use them rely on the bell as their only method of communication and forget how to use their words. A bell doesn't actually communicate anything about your intent; it simply communicates your presence. I don't have one on any of my bikes, though I suppose I should consider it. But I always call out my intent when approaching other trail users from behind. And when necessary, I slow to a crawl and await an opportunity to pass."
Now, it's your turn.
Speak Out: How can Arlington make its trails safer for everyone who wants to use them? Let us know in the comments sections.