The Investigators

May 14, 2013 12:20 PM by Matthew Schwartz

Tacks on bike paths endanger Tucson cyclists

TUCSON - Many members of Tucson's large bicycling community are angry and worried. Someone is apparently putting tacks on bike paths, and numerous cyclists told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that they have gotten flat tires.

Bicyclist Kathleen Kirk told us, "A few weeks ago when I was riding out on Catalina Highway, going up to Mount Lemmon, someone said, 'Be careful, there are a lot of tacks.'"

Cyclist Jay Hirsch said, "A lot of people have been getting flats. I've gotten one, my wife's gotten one. I changed three for other people on the same day that I got one. If you get a front flat at 40 miles an hour, you're history.

Hundreds of tacks, mostly regular thumbtacks, have been found recently on popular trails, many in a three to four mile stretch from Tanque Verde to the base of Mount lemmon.

Hirsh says, "Obviously they're being planted. Because we never could statistically get that many flats in such a short distance that quick.

While we were taping this report, we saw bicyclist Brian Tedder stuck at the base of Mount Lemmon. He had just gotten a flat front tire caused by a tack.

Tedder told us, "I really don't understand why anybody would do this, we're not bothering anybody, we're riding inside the bike lane."

kathleen kirk got a flat recently while leaving tanque verde to go up to Mount Lemmon. She said, "All of a sudden I noticed I had a clicking and I saw a gold tack in my tire. My first guess would be that we have an annoyed motorist or someone that thinks it's funny, or I don't know."

Kirt and other bicyclists believe the tacks are being planted by an angry driver or drivers as a sort of twisted attempt at revenge. Some Tucson drivers have complained for years about cyclists getting into the car lanes. In February, a professional cyclist from New York was training with his team near Valencia and Old Vail when a driver intentionally swerved into them.

Kirk acknowledges that, "Sometimes we cyclists are at fault for hogging the road, so we have to be really mindful about staying no more than two abreast, so it is possible that we annoyed somebody and for that I apologize."

If you find tacks on a bike path, you shouldn't just complain to another bicyclist, according to the Pima County Sheriffs, you should tell them about it.

Sheriff's office spokesman Tom Peine told us "We're dealing with possibly criminal damage charges. first of all and most importantly, call 9-1-1. let us know about the incident so that we can be there not only as it occurs and you may need help, but also that it's documented."

As cyclist Jay Hirsch told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "It's just malicious and dangerous and I wish I could discover who did it so we could have a conference with them."

Hopefully, whoever is putting tacks on bike paths stops immediately, before a bicyclist get seriously injured.

Cyclists who want to report cases of flat tires caused by tacks should call the Pima County Sheriff's Department non-emergency line, 351-4900.

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