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we need to ban walkers from the trails for bicycles.

If anything, the Four Mile Run trail in that area should be limited to pedestrians and not bicyclists. It is essentially parallel to the W&OD.

Nothing should happen. It's literally a one in a million accident. When was the last time this happened in this region?

On my commute I easily pass 50 pedestrians per day, 200 per week (@ 4 days a week), 10,000 per year. I'm sure 100 other cyclists have similar numbers, so 1,000,000 passes per year.

Whatever passing protocols we're using, they're working.

Funny, I saw that about cars and yet we scream for new laws.

1. Segregating users: I think educating pedestrians on what "on you left" or the bell means.

2. Speed limits: ineffective in terms of slowing people down, very good in terms of showing evidence of speeding for prosecutions.

3.Stop signs? I don't see how they would help.

Again, no crime here. There shouldn't be a crime and we don't need to criminalize accidents. There will be a large civil settlement.

Not sure if there was a center line at the point of the accident. I think center lines are one of the most important safety features of trails. It literally draws a line for staying to the left and passing on the right.

I use sections of 4MR over W&OD as I can avoid stop lights. I don't run stop lights. Also, the shade and park experance is quite nice.

Also. segegating trails is not the answer, but discrimination. In this case if we segragate against the person who was on the wrong side of the trail then peds should be banned. More education and signs stating that people should stay to the right and ecxpect to be passed on the left is wahat is needed.

Oops, stated the wrong travel and passing lanes in my first comment but got it right in the second comment. I blame kids trying to get me to get them more food :)

Thumbs up to Brendan for not succumbing to the "availability heuristic".

Nothing, is what we should do, and nothing will be done. We can all be a little more careful, so let's exercise due caution.

What's a heuristic? Is it some sort of Croatian pastry?

@Brendan Brendan's right: new laws or regulations aren't called for and wouldn't help. If new laws would stop fatalities, we'd have outlawed the 30,000+ traffic fatalities in US every year. Put speed limits on trails, and they'll be violated, or cyclists will simply ride on the roads. Victims of tragic accidents often call for changes to prevent future accidents, and while some changes are sensible, many are not.

@charlie: "I think educating pedestrians on what 'on you left' or the bell means." Amen. But how do you do that? According to Wash Post story, Ms. Lapina was an avid walker. You'd think she would have known the rule/custom to stay right, and knew what "bike left" means.

@washcycle "According to this NBC story, this week's Four Mile Run trail fatality happened on the left-hand side of the trail, which would make me less inclined to believe that the cyclist passed too closely." I disagree with washcycle's earlier post that the onus was on the cyclist, hence the cyclist was at fault, and am glad he has reconsidered. We simply don't know, and never will, what really happened.

Michael, I have only reconsidered because the facts may have changed. But if a passing cyclist hits a pedestrian on the right hand side of the trail, the onus is on the cyclist. And even on the left-hand side it may be. The primary responsibility for avoiding crashes when passing rests with the person doing the passing - because passing is optional.

" We simply don't know, and never will, what really happened."

I'm not sure this is true, there are really only two things we don't know and one of them may be known by police. The other can be deduced. BTW, this is what drivers say when they hit cyclists.

Does Four Mile Run have the typical signs that remind pedestrians and cyclists to keep right unless passing? I frequently encounter pedestrians on trails who behave as if they think the rule is to "walk against traffic," the way a pedestrian should on a busy road for automobiles. This misconception can be remedied by increase signage and education.

@ washcyclyle:

"if a passing cyclist hits a pedestrian on the right hand side of the trail, the onus is on the cyclist."

Agreed. I previously reported to you an accident where a cyclist hit a runner and was at fault. http://www.thewashcycle.com/2011/05/cyclist-runner-crash-on-the-wod.html

"And even on the left-hand side it may be. The primary responsibility for avoiding crashes when passing rests with the person doing the passing - because passing is optional."

Agree, but I don't believe that it follows that the passing cyclist is always at fault-not if the pedestrian (a) has an audible warning, and (b) then suddenly lurches to the left at just the right instant that the cyclist cannot avoid him/her. I have barely averted a couple of collisions where a runner veered into the left lane at such a time, and once I clipped the runner's heel, barely.

" 'We simply don't know, and never will, what really happened. ...' BTW, this is what drivers say when they hit cyclists."

No, when drivers hit cyclists, they say it wasn't their fault. When the party hearing a one-sided (and self-serving) version of events hears it, or hears two differing sides, he or she cannot know if that's what happened. And in any event, just because it is said with regard to a car hitting a cyclist that we'll never know what happened, doesn't make it untrue, and the motorist is not always at fault. A cyclist I know was hit and killed by a car a year ago and his family accepted that the accident was his fault. It happens. Here, I'd like to believe the version provided by the cyclist who hit Ms. Lapina, but of course we'll never have Ms. Lapina's version, and we know of no witnesses.

but I don't believe that it follows that the passing cyclist is always at fault

Agreed. But they have the higher responsibility.

I think we should ban cars from roads because car drivers kill pedestrians at a high and alarming rate and in toto kill about 35,000 people a year.

There should also be speed limits on all roads not to exceed 20 mph. Furthermore, there should be half-yearly comprehensive safety checks for cars and drivers with cost-compensating fees. Failure to pass the test will result in suspension of the license for three months and a one-time chance to retake the exam.

We will see whether the fatality rate goes down.

In addition, pedestrians will be required to wear appropriate safety head covers such as specially designed and tested pedestrian helmets as well as identification badges for better identification.

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