Tacks move to Williams, claim several more victims

Small tacks continue to cause flat tires
on a popular North Portland bike route.
(Photos: Rob Story)

When I reported about tacks in the bike lane on N. Vancouver Avenue last week, I hoped it was just an isolated incident. They could have even been — as one commenter suggested — debris from a construction site near Legacy hospital.

Unfortunately it seems this isn’t just a random, isolated incident.

I’ve now received several more reports of people getting flats from small, sharp tacks and they seem to all be coming from N Williams Ave (which is one street over and part of a north-south couplet with Vancouver). To date, I have 15 17 separate reports of flat tires caused by these tacks.

Reader Rob Story wrote in to say, “Another day, another handful of tacks thrown on Williams. I picked these up somewhere between Rose quarter and Tillamook”…

Rob Story’s flat.

Reader Marion Rice wrote in to say her husband Chuck got two tacks in his tires yesterday while biking on Williams. “One in the front tire and one in the back tire.”

Also reported yesterday was a commenter named Miles, who said he fell victim to the tacks on Williams as well. Same with commenter joeb, who thinks he picked up his tack right after Weidler Ave. And yet another person said they got a flat last night on Williams between the Rose Quarter and Tillamook.

Reader Noelle also wrote in, saying her husband was “at-tacked” on his evening commute up Williams “by the restaurants.” She says she saw two others with flats hoofing it home.

Noelle also offered this up to whoever dropped the tacks:

“Dear tack person: property damage is an unacceptable way to express yourself. It costs real actual people time, money, and puts their safety at risk. Nor should anyone’s clients, students, patients, or coworkers be inconvenienced because you think we should be driving. I don’t slash SUV tires…”

And Rob Story is now convinced the tacks aren’t a random occurrence: “One day is an isolated incident,” he wrote via email, “numerous days is malicious.”

I’ve contacted the City of Portland to find out how many reports they’ve gotten about the tacks and whether or not they plan to send out a maintenance crew to clean them up. I’ll update this post if/when I hear back. If you’ve gotten a flat from these tacks, please let us know and dial 823-SAFE to let the City know about it. The Portland Police Bureau suggests that victims report the incident as vandalism via their Citizen Online Reporting tool.

And if you are one of the unfortunate flat victims, remember the handy guide to simple flat repair we published last month.

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