Recent Death After Lake Arlington Pathway Accident Reminds Users to Beware

An elderly woman is dead after a June 18 accident at Lake Arlington when she was hit by a biker while walking the pathway. The incident is causing some to call for more safety regulations.

Arlington Heights Patch file photo
Arlington Heights Patch file photo

On June 18, 74-year-old Barbara Pagano of Arlington Heights was involved in an accident where she was struck by a bicycle while walking on the pathway at Lake Arlington, 1400 E. Valley Lane.

Pagano sustained serious injuries in the accident, and ultimately died on July 3.

Arlington Heights Police say the incident occurred at 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, and Pagano sustained a head injury after being hit by the bicycle ridden by an 11-year-old Buffalo Grove resident.

The young person was reportedly riding in a single file line with other bikes when the rider in front of him swerved. Police say he did not see Pagano in enough time to stop and struck her from behind with the bicycle.

Emergency services were called, and Pagano was transported to the hospital by the Arlington Heights Fire Department.

A friend and neighbor of Pagano’s reached out to Arlington Heights Patch and stated that although there is an ‘8 mph speed limit’ and ‘stay to the right’ directives on the path, those are typically ignored by users and no one is enforcing the safety measures.

“Bikers speed around the lake and weave in and out of walkers,” said Pam Greenberg, an Arlington Heights resident who regularly walks the pathway. “There must be some sort of regulation or we'll continue to hear of these incidents. In fact, while at Barbara’s wake, I learned another one of our neighbors was also hit by a biker.”

Among the pathway rules and guidelines set forth by the Arlington Heights Park District, bikers and skaters are required to yield to walkers. Users also are advised to stay to the right and inform the people in front of them if they are trying to pass on the left.  

The Arlington Heights Park District released a statement on its website Monday that read in part, "This is a very tragic incident and our hearts go out to Ms. Pagano’s family and friends on their loss.” said Steve Scholten, Executive Director of the Arlington Heights Park District.

The statement went on to say, "Lake Arlington’s path is used for both wheeled and non-wheeled activities and the Arlington Heights Park District’s pathway usage rules have established speed limits for bikers and skaters in addition to asking that walkers receive the right of way."

The park district stated that local police are relied on for assistance on enforcement of the usage ordinances, as well as users to understand and abide by the posted rules. 

Click here to view the statement in its entirety

Reg July 08, 2013 at 03:12 PM
This is horrible. I feel bad for both families of the deceased and the young kid who was in the accident too. In the referendum last year the park district was trying to put a separate walking path at the Lake. This is exactly why. The voters said no. That's too bad. The park district was trying to do something good to fix the problem of these kinds of accidents. It's really too bad the voters didn't think it was worth it.
Patrick July 08, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Reg, you need to check your soapbox at the door. It's totally inappropriate for you to drag up the referendum in the context of this tragedy. Prayers to all those involved in this tragic accident.
Burt July 08, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Yes it is very sad but one or the other has to go...too dangerous
Reg July 09, 2013 at 07:30 AM
Hello Patrick, Why is it inappropriate to say there was a solution that could of avoided this?? .......The fact is if the referendum was approved by voters there would be a separate walking path at the Lake and this might not have happened. .......The next accident might be a young kid running headlong into a gym wall because the 50 year old gyms are too small and the walls are right at the edge of the half-courts. Making the gyms bigger and more modern (like regulation size out of bounds areas) was also part of the referendum that voters turned down. ..........What do news people always say? Elections have consequences. .......The voters decided a walking path wasn't worth it. And now this happens. Just because you don't want to hear about it doesn't mean it can't be discussed. ........We are all adults here. We can talk about consequences of the voters saying no to the referendum.
Patrick July 09, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Reg, Has it ever occurred to you that there are simple solutions other than a separate walking path that could have prevented this accident and that could have been implemented months or years ago? As Burt said: "Yes it is very sad but one or the other has to go...too dangerous ". You keep pointing out that your preferred solution (separate path) would have solved the problem and that the evil people who voted against the referendum are to blame. You seem to be more focused on trying to say "I told you so" than you are on solving the real problem, namely the congestion at Lake Arlington and the interactions between walkers and cyclists. That's why I think your comments are inappropriate. Possible approaches to the problem besides a separate path..."cycling only" and "walking only" hours. Or as Burt points out, closing the path to cyclists altogether. There are miles of streets and bike paths throughout the Village; is it critical that walkers and cyclists have access to this particular facility? While it's a nice idea, it isn't cost effective. I'd love to drive a Mercedes and I know they are really safe, but I can't afford one. I have to act within the financial parameters I am dealt. You seem to be a smart person, and you're close to the problems and issues in these various PD facilities. Why not direct your energy toward solving these problems within the constraints we have? Maybe now is the time for you to take up the cause of convincing the public and the Park District that the Lake Arlington path needs to be closed to bicycle traffic. It could happen quickly and avert another tragedy. And so much better a use of your time than trying to pin the blame on others when I think you know that really isn't the case. I think you need to move past the defeated referenda and use your energy to come up with different solutions.
Carole Waytula Johnson July 09, 2013 at 10:40 AM
No only do I feel for the Pagano family, my thoughts also go out to the 11 year old child and I hope that in this terrible accident, he gets any help that he may need to cope with this.
Kevin Killion July 09, 2013 at 10:49 AM
Give the bikes somewhere else to go! For example, provide a bike path through the CommEd corridor north of the lake, connecting with the very pleasant and practical existing bike paths to the east in Prospect Heights and to the west in Palatine.
lilstuff July 09, 2013 at 10:49 AM
Someone must be liable and held accountable for this tragedy. The Pagano family is suffering and will for a very long time. Something must be done!!
Marge July 09, 2013 at 11:01 AM
Reg, I think it's inappropriate because your focus is on grinding the axe of "it's the fault of those who voted against the referendum." rather than addressing the real problem. I say that because you seem to completely miss the obvious solution pointed out by several here, namely to close the path to cyclists. Immediate, zero cost and very effective. It should have been done years ago and it is terrible that this tragedy occurred.
Reg July 09, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Marge and Kevin .......I already replied on the other news story. .......The park district said in the referendum meeting that this path was built with a grant money for a bicycle path. I don't think they can kick the bicyclists off the bike path. ......And Marge, this is a very tragic accident but that doesn't mean you can put words in my mouth. I never said it was voters fault. ........All I'm saying is that the park district was trying to do something about it but it's too bad the voters said no. .....If anything is going to get banned at that bike path it will probably be walking and jogging because the grant money contract probably says it has to be for bicycles.
Anne Cotter July 09, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I walk this path routinely for several years and I can attest this accident was predictable. The cyclists have no regard for families or older people walking at all. The speed limit is never enforced. Do the math...if 8 mph were enforced and the path is less than 2 miles you would not see the same cyclist 8 times an hour. I also walk with my 84 year old dad who has stopped walking at Lake Arlington for this reason. The cyclists appear aggravated that they share the path with anyone. Walking here is now the same level of danger as walking Busse Woods on a busy Sunday. This is a 100% enforcement issue and if cost is limiting enforcement then limit uses.
lilstuff July 09, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Reg, are on the Park District board? You seem awfully driven by the politics of this horrific accident? Everything you write about is the referendum. Who now is held accountable and who is liable for this senseless death??
Marge July 09, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Reg, let's try again. The Park District plans were nice, but expensive. Two referenda failed to pass. The majority of people don't think we should be spending large amounts of taxpayer money to build extensive facilities for leisure activities. People can walk anywhere. If there isn't a walking path at Arlington Lakes or there isn't an indoor track somewhere, they will walk elsewhere. They can walk in their neighborhoods, the Senior Center or join a health club or the Wellness Center. That's the situation as it stands currently. There was a terrible accident, bringing to the issue of cyclist/walker interactions to the forefront. Axe-grinding: "The fact is if the referendum was approved by voters there would be a separate walking path at the Lake and this might not have happened." Problem solving: "It is not possible for walkers and cyclists to share a single path safely. I think this is a really important issue and starting today, I'm going to begin working to bring together those who share my desire to bring a dedicated walking path to Arlington Lakes. I'm looking for residents and businesses to partner with the Park District to make this happen via private efforts. Together, we can make it happen." See the difference?
Reg July 09, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Hi lilstuff and Marge....... I made an observation that if the referendum would of passed there'd be a wlaking path there now AFTER saying how tragic this accident is. My heart goes out to both families involved. .........But I couldn't help but think that if the vote had passed this accident probably wouldn't happen. No malice or blame about it. Just making the observation. .....Now after this horrible but predictable accident people are complaining about the bicycles being on a bike path. Completely preventable accident. But based on what I remember I don't think we can demand to have bicycles banned. Maybe we can have the park district ban walking. ............And yes I went to some of the referendum meetings they had. I try to stay up on the news about my hometown. People said they didn't want a walking path there because some trees might get cut down to fit the walking path. (I also went to the mayor debate. That doesn't mean I'm the mayor!) .............Marge. I love your idea of having residents and businesses partner together to build a walking path around the Lake. There are lots of runners shops in town that would probably chip in. Let's pull together to make it happen!!
Tobytoes July 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM
I see lots of discussion about this matter.....apparently someone had to die to reopen the discussion....but, as usual with Arlington Hts, this will fade away without resolution. Why don't the cyclists go play in traffic?
Reg July 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Hi Tobytoes...... That is a bike path. Why are you trying to ban bikes from one of the few bike paths in town?
darin M Pondel July 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM
there are two lanes at the lake. why not consider having everyone go only clockwise around the lake. One lane for wheels and one lane for feet. I am sorry for both families dealing with this accident.


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