Riders report dozens of nails on Williams Ave bike lane (again)

Nails found on Williams Ave
last night by reader Josh H.

Several dozen roofing nails were strewn in the bike lane on North Williams Avenue last night. We’ve gotten three reports from readers so far and have confirmed three separate locations where nails were found. The development is troubling because this isn’t the first time we’ve covered nails in the bike lanes on Williams (and its couplet, Vancouver).

Last night, a reader named Xan H. wrote in to say she was riding north on Williams just before Skidmore (near Dalo’s restaurant) on her way home from work when she “cycled across a perfectly placed patch of variously sized nails.” Xan got a flat, so she looped back to find what caused it and ended up picking up about 22 nails.

I also received a phone call today from a man named James C., who says he also rode over “a bunch of roofing nails in the bike lane” just south of Tillamook. “It looked decidedly non-accidental,” said James,”It was in the darkest part, just in bike lane, not in the street.”

A reader named Josh H. also reported finding several dozen nails at N. Thompson and Williams.

When this happened last year, I got in touch with a contact at the Police Bureau. They got in touch with the commander of North Precinct and neighborhood officers with the hopes of spreading word to residents. If you experience nails that you feel have been intentionally placed in the bike lane, the PPB suggests you file a report of “Vandalism” (for lack of a more descriptive crime) using their online reporting system.

Back in September, we heard heard of over twenty different people whose tires were flatted by roofing nails/tacks. The incidents began on Vancouver Ave and then moved over to Williams a few days later. At one point, a frustrated citizen stepped up to offer a $500 reward for information leading to a suspect. The incidents made the evening TV news.

We hadn’t heard many other reports since then. But last night’s incident makes it clear that, either a lot of nails just happen to fall off trucks in this area, or the person who’s doing it isn’t done sending their message that bikes aren’t welcome.

UPDATE, 2/15 at 9:02 am: I asked PPB bike liaison officer Ty Engstrom about this situation last night. He said there really isn’t much they (or anyone) can do without evidence/leads to go on. As far as a crime, he said depending on the property damage amount, someone (if caught of course) could be charged with Criminal Mischief. He said Disorderly Conduct might also fit. But in the end, without solid evidence or leads on a suspect, this will likely just be a frustrating situation we’re all but powerless to stop.

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