Alaskan Way Trail tacks appear intentional

Photo by Eric Shalit, used with permission

Photo by Eric Shalit, used with permission

I’ve been receiving notes about tacks on the Alaskan Way Trail near Pioneer Square all week, but now that I’ve seen Eric Shalit’s photo (taken Thursday night) I’m very concerned that the tacks are intentional, and the culprit keeps returning to reset them.

This is extremely dangerous. At best, someone will get a flat. At worst, a blowout could cause someone to fall and get injured.

Several people this week have said they got flats, then went and cleaned the tacks off the trail. So the fact that Eric found fresh tacks Thursday suggests someone is resetting them. That or some commuter’s panniers are leaking thumb tacks (in which case, you might want to get that checked out).

Keep your eyes peeled and call the police if you spot someone doing this.

Here’s approximately where it’s happening:


View Tacks in a larger map

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25 Responses to Alaskan Way Trail tacks appear intentional

  1. I ride that every day on the way to work. I’d heard rumors on FB that this was happening and I hoped it was a one-time jackassy move, but I guess not. Arrrgh!

  2. Dan Luzius says:

    Thanks for the post! I’ve had 4 flats since late last week. This morning, I ran through another set on the bike trail under the West Seattle High Bridge. Sounds like the culprit has more than one “tack trap”! West Seattle commuters, be on the look out.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Yikes! That’s terrible. Thanks for letting us know the problem is bigger than just this stretch of trail.

    • AiliL says:

      Dan when did you go through? The trail this morning was clear for me at about 6:45 am. I saw no one out there but for one other cyclist ahead of me so the person must have been planting the tacks maybe between certain morning hours?

  3. Nathaniel says:

    Caught one in my sidewall on Wednesday. They are out there and this is a super bummer.

  4. Bill says:

    Has anyone reported this to the police or City Hall? Something like 300 people bike commute from West Seattle. This is a genuine public safety hazard.

  5. Jeff says:

    I was also a victim of the “tacking”. I called SDOT road maintenance on Thursday morning (1/10) and requested a street sweeping along Marginal, from the Coast Guard facility to West Seattle Bridge (Spokane St). They “requested a work order” (whatever that means).

    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/streetmaintenance.htm#sweep

    One tack stayed in my tire and I was able to ride home without losing much air…just a click-click-click. ;-)

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200381395918926&set=o.475747459136116&type=1&theater

  6. biliruben says:

    That’s just remarkable. The amount of hatred or, I would hope, simple juvenile behavior this kind of act represents is disheartening.

    The climb up Lynn/Delmar in Montlake had 4 piles of multi-colored glass spaced up it in the bike lane a couple of years ago. I just couldn’t get my head around the mindset.

    Can folks riding bikes really piss people off this much?

    • Al Dimond says:

      I wonder if it’s less like anger and more like trolling.

    • Ted Diamond says:

      “Can folks riding bikes really piss people off this much?”

      Someone who does something like this, it is not a question of anger. It is sickness. I have no trouble imagining that this person reacts to lots of things in this way. Kind of person who fixates on feelings of persecution, ties them back to vulnerable segments of society, and, finally, and most importantly, acts anonymously. In short, a fascist thug.

    • Ted Diamond says:

      Also, I’d like to point out that I’m not related to Al Dimond. He appears to be much more level-headed than I am.

  7. AiliL says:

    I have my suspicions about a certain bike hating pedestrian I have had a couple encounter with. I will report it to the police tomorrow. I see this person almost daily and for some reason this week she was acting so serene it was out of character and stuck with me. I am also going to buy a little sweeper for my bike bag.

  8. sbre says:

    I’m a daily commuter from the Admiral district in west Seattle to the southpark area (Calif., Calif. Way, Harbor Ave., Spokane St., a very short stint under the west end of the bridge and finally along W. Marginal Way) and haven’t seen anything along these stretches of trail/road.

    Sorry it’s happening to you all, good luck and stay up-right!!!

  9. Al Dimond says:

    At any rate, whether the people doing this feel wronged by cyclists or are bullying us, it seems likely enough they’ll get caught if they keep it up. People love to talk about what they’ve done, and eventually they’ll tell the right person.

    • Gary says:

      “get caught” that’s pretty wishful thinking. It takes no time at all to toss a handful of tacks on the ground.

      And as a pedestrian/cyclist I totally understand how a person walking can get pretty mad a cyclists whizzing by even if they aren’t trying to be a pain, the difference in speed just like cars/cyclists is bound to cause trouble.

      • Jeff says:

        Being someone who runs and bikes for transportation, I also understand not being happy about people whizzing by me unannounced. That’s just how people are, no matter whether they’re on a bike or in a car. Therefore, I’ve adapted and am always perceptive of my surroundings and stay aware of people approaching me from behind.

        I wouldn’t go putting nails on the roads where cars drive because they get too close when I’m on a bike. I wish people in general would be a little more courteous to each other.

      • Morgan Wick says:

        “It takes no time at all to toss a handful of tacks on the ground.”

        Not to make sure their pointy ends are all pointing up like in the photo.

    • Bill says:

      The root of cyclist/ped conflict is the same as car/cyclist conflict: engineering of shared-use facilities. It is as unwise to put pedestrians on a major bike trail as it is to put cyclists on a shoulderless 45-mph arterial. The peds need to be given sidewalks and be encouraged or coerced to use them. The separate paths in Myrtle Edwards work well. The trail and sidewalk at Alki do not. The latter could use some police warning and citing peds.

      • Morgan Wick says:

        I’m not sure how you would build a bicycle path that wouldn’t be suitable for either cars or pedestrians. We just need to train Americans to share the road more and better, whatever that “road” may be. But then, maybe a deep instinct to hate someone or something is just ingrained in the American psyche…

  10. Gary says:

    We had an attack of carpet tacks on the I-90 bridge last year. I bought a magnet on a stick from Ace hardware and swept the entire bridge before I located the “source pile” (about 20 ft in the other direction from where I started.)

    Based on my collection, it appears that even if you dumped a handful or two of tacks in the center of the trail, they’ll get brushed to the sides by the riders. As the majority of the tacks I found were in the leaves at the edge of the paved parts of the trail.

    “sweeping” does remove the tacks, but a magnet on a stick really does get them all.

  11. Ezra says:

    Sucks to see something like this happening, hope if someone is intentionally setting these up they are found. I’ve actually somehow gotten 3 flats in the last 3 weeks or so, but I think it’s just darn bad luck and a lot of riding in the shoulder.

  12. Pingback: Sweeping changes on East Marginal Way « Cascade Bike Blog – Cascade Bicycle Club – Seattle, Washington

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