A 'tragic accident' along a peaceful walking trail has locals questioning traffic

LEXINGTON, Mass. — A fatal bicycle collision is under investigation in Lexington, but police have said it appears to be a tragic accident.

The Minuteman rail trail is very busy, especially on a warm Spring Sunday. It was first paved and dedicated in 1992 as a mixed-use walking and biking trail along the former path of railroad tracks from Cambridge to Lexington.

While we don’t have all the details of the bike crash that killed a 71-year-old man over the weekend, people who frequent the trail say speed can be a problem.

"I biked this path before the bridges were even in," Geri Esler, of Woburn, told Boston 25 News.

Esler has been biking the path for decades, but she avoids it on weekends now.

"They’re doing the Tour de France and they’re extremely fast and there are people in strollers, there are people in walkers, there are people in wheelchairs," she said.

Esler told us she was devestated when she heard 71-year-old Gary Coovert was killed around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon when the Arlington resident collided with a 57-year-old Lexington man who was also riding a bike on the path.

"I’ve been hit by a car on the road three times and I thought this was a safe place to ride," she said.

Karina Bergevin and her kids also avoid the peak times on the path.

"I’ve never seen it be so congested that it could cause a problem," Bergevin said. "But, also, we come here during the school year. So once it starts getting sunnier out and the weather gets better, I have seen it on the weekends be a little bit crazy.”

Lexington police are still investigating the cause of the collision, but say the cyclists were travelling in opposite directions.

"Massachusetts traffic laws require you to give an audible warning when you're overtaking a pedestrian," Harden Crilley noted. "That has fallen completely into disuse.”

We did speak with Cooverts family, but they had no comment at this time.