Cyclists in Edmonton are sounding the alarm after tacks were discovered strewn across part of the downtown bike network.
Jared Wesley said he was recently cycling around 102 Avenue and 105 Street when two tourists flagged him down to warn him about the tacks.
View photos of the tacks in the gallery below.
Wesley said the tacks were sprinkled between 106 Street and 109 Street; he and the two tourists picked up at least 30 tacks while cleaning up.
The tacks were “fairly scattered,” he said, adding they appeared to have been spread similar to how a farmer spreads seeds.
Sarah Rebryna said she was riding between 106 Street and 107 Street on Sunday when she heard a “ping.”
“I saw something rotate throughout my rim and tires,” she said. “Then I had a constant ticking as I was riding. I looked down and a tack was stuck in my tires.”
Rebryna admits she didn’t think much about the prickly nail at the time.
“I was already in a hurry that day so it was just like, ‘This is an inconvenience.'”
She rode a few more blocks home then took the LRT instead to where she was headed. It was only later that she discovered on social media that she wasn’t the only one to encounter a tack.
Darren Ozubko lives downtown and uses the bike lanes every day. He first heard about the tacks through social media posts by friends.
“It’s pretty scary,” he said on Monday.
“Maybe you’re not close to home and now you got a flat. How do you deal with it? What if you wiped out? You get it in your knee or your elbow. It’s just rude and ignorant.”
It isn’t clear whether the tacks were sprinkled deliberately or by accident, though some cyclists believe it was intentional and related to tensions between cyclists and motorists.
“How can it be an accident? Did someone lose their briefcase along the way and all the tacks came out? Who uses tacks anyways?” Ozubko said.
“People hate these bike lanes. They really and truly do.”
Cyclist Darren Armstrong is giving the situation the benefit of the doubt.
“It’s an awfully rotten thing to do. I don’t know if that’s something that was done on purpose or a mistake. I hope it was a mistake,” he said.
“It’s probably just kids, kids being stupid. But what do you do right? You just go on with your life.”
Tej Swatch was cycling with his young son on Monday; he said the family uses the bike lanes at least twice a week.
“It seems a little upsetting. It’s a little odd somebody would do that,” he said.
“I’m not going to change the way we ride. We ride safely and we ride with a lot of attention. If somebody’s going to be unkind and do something like that, people are just going to have to be more vigilant about it.”
Spokespeople for the city and the Edmonton Police Service said they have not received any reports about the tacks.