The incident happened around 7:15 this morning (Monday) on the trail near the intersection of Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive. According to police, an adult male cyclist was coming down a hill when he called out “on your left, on your left,” to the victim, who was walking on trail.
The victim turned around, moving into the path of the cyclist, and said “what? — at which time she and the cyclist collided, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The woman fell backwards and her head hit the pavement, causing significant trauma.
The woman was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries, Sternbeck said. She was pronounced dead in the hospital later in the day. Police originally reported the woman’s age as 70, then as 81, but later said it was actually 80.
The cyclist, a 62-year-old man, suffered only minor injuries and did not require transport to the hospital. He was riding a NEXT Power Climber mountain bike at the time of the accident, according to Sternbeck. No charges have been filed against the cyclist, he said.
The trail is eight feet wide at the point of the collision, Sternbeck noted. Arlington does not have speed limits on its bike trails, according to county officials.
On Tuesday morning, police issued the following press release about the incident.
A 80 year old Arlington resident was pronounced dead late yesterday afternoon at Fairfax Hospital after being struck by a bicyclist.
The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center received the initial 9-1-1 report at 7:11 a.m. on June 11, 2012, regarding a collision between a bicyclist and pedestrian on the Four Mile Run Bike Path in the area of the 4900 block of Columbia Pike. The victim sustained significant head trauma after falling backwards, striking the back of her head on the pavement. The 62 year old bicyclist remained on scene and received treatment for a minor knee injury. He did not require transport to a hospital.
According to a witness and the bicyclist, the 62 year old man was heading downhill on his Next Powerclimber bike when he saw the victim ahead of him and attempted to warn her by yelling “to your left” and ringing a bell. This is when the 80 year old woman stepped to her left and turned around to be struck head-on, causing her to fall backwards to the ground.
Ita Lapina, 80, of Arlington, VA, succumbed to the injuries she sustained during the June 11 incident. She was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:20 p.m.
For information related to bicycle and pedestrian safety, please visit the Prevention and Safety section on the Arlington County Police Department homepage at http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/Police/PoliceMain.aspx