Family of Woman Killed in Bike Crash Wants Safety Improvements

80-year-old woman struck by bicyclist on Four Mile Run Trail Monday

Thursday, Jun 14, 2012  |  Updated 8:57 AM EDT
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"This kind of thing is not supposed to happen," said a daughter of Ita Lapina, 80, who died on a bike trail Monday.

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The family of an 80-year-old woman killed by a bicyclist on a popular Arlington trail wants to prevent another tragic accident.

Ita Lapina took a daily walk from her assisted living facility to the Four Mile Run trail in South Arlington, where she was fatally injured Monday. The Russian immigrant had walked on the trail every day for 15 years.

"This kind of thing is not supposed to happen," said one of her daughters.

A 62-year-old man riding his bike down a hill saw Lapina and tried to warn her, but she turned around and stepped into the left lane.

He collided with her, and she fell backwards, striking her head on the pavement. She died at the hospital.

The cyclist stayed on the scene. Police have ruled Lapina's death an accident and will not charge the man.

Lapina's family is now asking Arlington County to take formal steps to make the trail safer. "We suggested that they divide the bike path," said a relative. The family also suggested adding stop signs for bike riders along the trail.

Pedestrians on the trail told NBC4's Shomari Stone they'd like cyclists to slow down. "Especially when they're passing someone," said one man.

Meanwhile, the bikers want walkers and joggers to pay more attention. "I don't want to hit anybody; I don't want to hurt anybody," said a rider.

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