An 80-year-old woman died Monday afternoon after being struck by a bicyclist on the Four Mile Run Trail in Arlington.
Police say Ita Lapina of Arlington was pronounced dead at Fairfax Hospital after she was involved in a collision on the windy, tree-lined trail that runs along Four Mile Run Creek through Arlington County.
According to police, a 62-year-old man was biking downhill on the trail early Monday morning when he saw Lapina walking on the path near where the trail passes under Columbia Pike. Authorities say he tried to warn the woman by yelling "To your left" and ringing his bell, but she was knocked down when she stepped to the left and turned around.
Lapina was struck head-on by the cyclist and hit her head on the ground, police say. She suffered significant head trauma and later died. The bicyclist, who remained at the scene, was treated for a minor knee injury. No charges have been filed against him.
Trail users say that near misses are common on trails that runners, hikers, walkers and cyclists all share year-round.
"It's important when you're walking (to not) make a sudden left or right turn," trail user Bob Johnston said. "(You) always look behind you."
Representatives from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association says this tragic accident highlights the importance of everyone sharing space on the road and on the trail.
"Everybody needs to be aware of their surroundings," WABA Outreach and Advocacy Director Greg Biling said. "If you stop on the trail, get off the trail. It's a small space."