Cyclist finds thumbtacks on O'Connor bike lane

An Ottawa cyclist had to walk her bike home early Sunday morning after her tire was flattened by thumb tacks that were strewn across the new O'Connor bike lane between Gilmour and Gloucester streets.

Catherine Laska called 311 to have tacks cleaned up

Catherine Laska had to take her bike tire for repairs Monday morning. (Robyn Miller)

An Ottawa woman had to walk her bike home with a flat tire early Sunday morning after hitting a patch of thumb tacks along the new O'Connor bike lane.

"I don't know who did this but I think it's unfortunate," said Catherine Laska who called the city's 311 line to report the incident.

"I think a lot of people would benefit from taking good care of the cycling infrastructure we do have in the city," she said Monday.

Laska was cycling home from a Halloween party early Sunday morning when she heard a clicking sound. When she looked down Laska said she noticed 20 to 30 tacks strewn across the bike lane. Three had firmly lodged themselves into her tire.

Laska had to replace her tire after it was flattened by these thumb tacks.

It was bad experience for Laska who said it was her first time trying out the O'Connor bike lane which officially opened Oct. 20.

The designated two-way lane cost the city $2.5 million and is the first of its kind in Ottawa. The idea was met with some criticism with some drivers expressing concern that having two-way bike lanes on a one-way street could present safety issues.

City councillor Catherine McKenney heard about the incident on Twitter and said she likes to think the tacks weren't laid out on purpose. 

"If in fact it was put out deliberately it's dangerous," said McKenney.

"People are using this bikeway the same way we use sidewalks and roadways. It's part of all of our public space, it's a way of us getting around so we need to make sure we're all respecting that space," she added.

Mayor Jim Watson provided his thoughts on the incident on Twitter, calling the stunt "moronic."

In an email, Luc Gagné, the city's manager of road services said staff walked the area Monday morning and found no visible thumb tacks, but sent a sweeper out as precaution.

City staff didn't find any thumb tacks but on Monday it sent out a sweeper as a precaution. (Robyn Miller)