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Tacks on Hawthorne Bridge cause multiple flats

Posted by on January 7th, 2015 at 9:21 am

thumbtack

(Photo: Reddit user scrodd)

Someone apparently scattered thumbtacks across the paths of the Hawthorne Bridge crossing early Tuesday evening. Our latest report of trouble came in at 8:20 this morning.

We heard from one source who said they stopped and picked up more than 40 tacks on their way home last night.

This sort of seemingly deliberate attack is especially hard to understand because it has some potential to put people in real physical danger.

This is maybe the appropriate place to disclose that I was a victim myself at about 7 p.m. last night (eastbound), and that this morning’s report came from my (eastbound) girlfriend, who wasn’t protected by the fact that I’d warned her about the possibility. There’s also a thread on Reddit today in which two other people say they were hit while headed westbound.

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We’ve written about tack attacks in the past, on North Vancouver and Williams and in the Columbia Gorge, and there have also been incidents we haven’t covered.

In the Reddit thread, one person reports having “hit a few when someone loaded the routes to the meetup park for the World Naked Bike Ride.”

Bizarre attacks like this are more than just an serious annoyance and a slight danger to folks affected by it. They’re also sort of the inverse of a big fun event like the Bridge Pedal or the naked ride, which give thousands of casual bike users a reason to get their tires pumped and their brakes checked, ready to ride. For someone on the edge between biking and not biking, a flat tire can put someone off the road for days or weeks.

Do you have any more information about how or when this might have happened?

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9watts
Guest
9watts

Lame.

Interesting to (try to) imagine the mindset of the person(s) doing this:
Those people are having too much fun. I’m going to show them!

J_R
Guest
J_R

Sounds like terrorism against the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Are there tapes from security cameras on the bridge that could be reviewed?

Mike Quiglery
Guest
Mike Quiglery

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires will stop a tack (and goathead) long enough for you to stop and pick it out.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Annoying.

Does anyone know if my “Double Shielding puncture protection” tires would protect me against this?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Went through at 5:30 and didn’t get a flat. This sucks.

Dave
Guest

I saw exactly who did it. It was some homeless (looking) crust-punk kids. I rode past them last night and as I passed, one said, “wanna buy some thumbtacks?” I didn’t really think anything of it, but it was on the eastbound side of the bridge, around 5:30 PM.

Mark Allyn
Guest

Perhaps like with what happened on Williams, should I offer a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who did this?

carlos
Guest
carlos

I too had a puncture with a suspiciously similar tack last night. Around 6:30pm just before transitioning from the on street bike lane to the raised walk/bike path westbound on the Hawthorne Bridge. It was a fairly new tire with a fully inflated tube. In my experience no tire prevents a tack like from causing a flat.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Are any others wary when crossing the Hawthorne Bridge in general? There’s little to protect from a fall (off a foot-plus high curb) onto the grating and oncoming traffic. All it takes is an unanticipated movement by someone walking and a potentially bad crash could happen.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Speaking for myself and a companion, neither of us has flats or embedded tacks to report after riding there at ~11:30pm last night.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

On SE 28th south of Powell it is not uncommon to see areas of broken glass in the bike lane. It gets washed down or swept away, and someone puts new broken glass down. It is a drag, but at least it is easier to spot and avoid than a tack.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

ha! i had a feeling!

Pea Shooter
Guest
Pea Shooter

pushcart war… we are the trucks.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Easy prevention is buy slime tubes or tubes with removable cores and pump in 4 oz of Stans Sealant and you’ll go the whole winter with tack’s, Glass, nails and goatheads in your tires and never even notice!

PeeJay
Guest
PeeJay

No tacks for me, although I’ve done morning westbound/evening eastbound everyday.

I have had some scary incidents on the deck, though. About a year ago I witnessed a man on a bike get pushed by an obviously agitated person. He was able to keep his balance and not fall into the car lane, and speed off, but I stopped and warned others on bikes to approach with great caution. We waited until the man settled down and rode past in close formation. The guy who got pushed said he didn’t do anything to provoke anyone.

The Hawthorne Bridge is an amazing and essential part of our network, but if I were to build it today, I would not mix bike and foot traffic. Different speeds—and directions—lead to conflicts. Foot and bike traffic shouldn’t mix any more than bike and car traffic.

kohr harlan
Guest
kohr harlan

actually anyone who ran through the tacks or those of you who use the bridge regularly — I’d love to hear from you for news tonight. this tack stuff has gone on before on north Williams — its become an issue — if you can help me by returning a call — we’ll do a story on it for tonight’s news. call me if you’re interested: kohr Harlan channel 6 reporter: 971 563-3765. thanks.

Sunlight Daylight
Guest

This is probably just stoned kids messing about. I wouldn’t take it too personally.

Marathon Plus tires are the dogs whatsits when it come to puncture protection.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Does anyone know if someone called the police (to report the tacks) and PBOT (to clean up the tacks)? Or this bridge a county bridge?

Joe
Guest
Joe

total bike violence 🙁

colton
Guest
colton

They should have put up warning signs ahead of reflective tacks like what they did with the barrels stopping cars on SE Clinton. Then they could call them “Guerrilla bike diverters”!

groovin101
Guest
groovin101

Guess there’s still more to do on the hearts and minds front. At least no one was throwing bricks…

Joe
Guest
Joe

oh I’ve had a can thrown at me from that bridge.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I picked up two in my tire this morning around 5:45am heading west bound by the bus stop. Made me late to work. And yes I have expensive tires. Two thumb tacks on both side walls definitely did the trick. 🙁

Dave
Guest

soren
No.
But men who post on bike portland are really easy to pick out — and, honestly, they all look the same to me. How about a trade? If you explain how I can detect a “homeless” person, I will explain how to recognize males who post on bike portland.
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Soren, I think it’s hilarious that you managed to drag the fact that I am male into it (which has absolutely nothing to do with any of this), all the while acting like it’s somehow outrageous for me to use the term “homeless”. Again, the PC police cannibalizing themselves proves to be one of the most entertaining things on the internet. Bravo!

Joe
Guest
Joe

no a car drove by me on the bridge throwing a can out the window.

Anon
Guest
Anon

BikePDX should organize an event where everyone who bicycles drives everywhere for a day just to show how much worse things could be without bikes.

matt picio
Guest

Michael, if you haven’t already reported this to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and the Transportation Department, please do so. I will make sure this gets talked about next Wednesday (the 14th) at the county Bike/Ped meeting.

Anyone else who was “tacked”, please report it – or consider coming to next week’s meeting in Room 126 (not the normal room) of the Multnomah County Building at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd and telling the committee and county staff yourself. Thanks.

Tacky
Guest
Tacky

Hello everyone. I am so sorry for all the trouble I may have caused. I was late for meeting at the Marriott hotel and parking was terrible. I had to park across the Hawthorne bridge under I-5. When I was running across the bridge, my briefcase latch let go and the contents were strewn all over the bridge. You see, I sell thumb tacks for Ningbo Interwell Import/Export Co. Ltd and I was on my way to meet with the buyers for a major US retail office supply chain. I had boxes and boxes of all or our latest innovative thumb tacks for samples. When the brief case spilled open, out came all of my sample tack products and they just went everywhere. I tried to pick them up, but hostile bicyclists kept beeping/ringing/yelling at me to get out of the way! I was so frustrated, I just left. I am so sorry for causing you trouble.

However, despite the troubles, you should know the meeting went well!

So next time you need a sharp object to put a hole in something, think Ningbo Interwell!

-Wei (Joe) Jiang

180mm_dan
Guest
180mm_dan

I’ve had *four* flats in two months with premium tires, Top Contact II (Continental) Something unusal is going on, usually I get one every 3-4 months. However, I haven’t seen tacks in tire. Two were metal shards, like construction debris. The other two punctures were quick and loud, but didn’t sick in tire, maybe tack?? I ride interstate into downtown and often back, sometimes N Williams.

wkw
Guest
wkw

I believe I am a victim of this as well. I commute the Hawthorne bridge and have had 2 flats in the past month. The question is, if you catch someone in the ‘act’, how do you get the police to take it seriously?!?

john
Guest
john

Pulled two tacks out yesterday (Monday, January 12). Ch 6 ran segment about Hawthorne Bridge this morning. It appears we’ve had a second spreading of tacks.

PS — No flats due to tacks with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires!