Cops: Hiker Stabbed Mountain Biker in Right-of-Way Dispute

Victim had to be airlifted to hospital 115 miles away
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2021 8:44 AM CDT
Cops: Hiker Stabbed Mountain Biker in Right-of-Way Dispute
The Washington Trails Association says mountain bikers should yield to hikers when possible,   (Getty Images/blyjak)

With more people enjoying the outdoors during the pandemic, tempers can sometimes fray on mixed-use trails. Stabbings like one that happened earlier this month in Washington state, however, are rare. The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office says a mountain biker in his 60s was stabbed by another man in his 60s during a March 6 altercation on a trail near Bellingham, Fox reports. Police say 69-year-old Dake Traphagen, who surrendered to authorities Tuesday, told investigators he had been going down a trail with a group of hikers when they encountered a mountain biker going uphill. Traphagen said that after a right-of-way argument, he stabbed the biker in self-defense after he "attacked him with his bike and they fell to the ground," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

The sheriff's office says the injured 66-year-old mountain biker, concerned for his safety, returned home and was airlifted to a hospital in Seattle, 115 miles away, after calling authorities. The biker told investigators that he had asked the group of hikers to move aside because he was clipped into his bike and was trying to get through an area with exposed tree roots. He said "a male in the group grabbed his handlebars, causing him to lose balance and he and the bike tumbled onto the hiker," according to the sheriff's office. He said he thought the hiker was punching him, but then realized he was being stabbed in the arm and leg. Traphagen has been charged with assault and also faces a weapons charge because he used a spring blade knife banned in the state, KGMI reports. (Read more hikers stories.)

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