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Central Park Bikers Warned To Keep Eyes Out For Thumbtacks

Some Wonder If This Is More Than A Prank, Perhaps A Move Against Cyclists?
Central Park (credit: CBS 2)

Central Park (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Bike riders beware.

Someone has apparently been putting down thumbtacks across the roads in Central Park. The concern, as CBS 2’s Tony Aiello found out Thursday, revolves around a possible backlash against the bike movement.

The sabotage took out the tires of more than a dozen bikes last week on Park Drive at the bottom of Harlem Hill.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports

Cyclist Rich Delvino said his eyes are always fixed on the road surface ahead.

“I’m always look on the ground, I’m looking for potholes,” Delvino said. “But thumbtacks I will keep my eye on.”

Tony Smith said he bikes the track around Central Park nearly every day and has had flat tires before, but when his back tire went flat this week, something about it was different.

“When I went to check the hole in the tire, it was minute, it was so thin. I couldn’t see it through the tire, but all I knew was that the air was coming out of the inner tube,” Smith told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “A thumbtack you can’t see, you’re not paying attention for a thumbtack.”

Cyclist James Harris said though it may all turn out to be a prank, it’s still dangerous.

“You can’t stop and you’ve got no traction, so it’s no joke, it’s serious,” Harris said, adding that he’s worried hitting a thumbtack could land him in the hospital, especially since he doesn’t wear a helmet.

Some bike riders actually did hit the pavement after their tires suddenly went flat following the tack attack.

Steve Vaccaro said he took a tumble off his bike recently when the front tire was punctured by a thumbtack left on Central Park Drive near West 102nd Street.

“I was injured, thankfully, not seriously. I skinned my elbow. I think it will grow back,” Vaccaro told CBS 2’s Aiello.

Vaccaro said it was a simple silver tack and he wasn’t the only rider to get the point.

“I’m not sure how thumbtacks make their way into Central Park,” Vaccaro said.

He refused to point fingers, but the New York Cycle Club issued an alert calling the tacks “a booby trap” aimed at bicyclists.

One rider said he went out early Thursday morning wondering if the thumbtacks were part of a biking backlash.

“We’ve seen a lot of change in recent years with bicycling taking more prominence in Central Park and elsewhere in the city, with the new bike lanes and other changes, and I think we’ve just seen people being afraid of change,” Peter Niessen said.

There’s no doubt the Big Apple biking boom has provoked strong feelings, including pro and con protests over bike lanes. There has also been the occasional problem in the park as runners and riders jostle for space.

“[There] definitely is some tension at some times,” Harlem resident Tim Chernikoff said.

So far, the tack scattering has been just a one-day thing, but bike riders said they are keeping a sharp eye out for more trouble.

The Central Park Police have been notified, CBS 2 reported.

What do you think? Prank or something more? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …