News


Woodside man raises reward funds in effort to nab tack-scatterer on Kings Mountain Road

Tacks are a hazard for bicyclists; goal is to raise $10,000

Woodside resident Walter Cook is leading a drive to raise $10,000 to be awarded for information leading to the identification of the person or persons who scatted carpet tacks recently on Kings Mountain Road.

The tacks can easily give bicyclists flat tires as they ride the steep winding route between Woodside Road and Skyline Boulevard.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, about half of a group of 15 cyclists discovered tacks in their tires when they reached Skyline Boulevard, Woodside resident Bruce Matheson said.

If a tack punctures a tube on a curve going downhill, it can send a rider tumbling, Portola Valley resident and bicycle commuter Nate McKitterick said.

Mr. Cook, who is leading the fundraising drive, said he is pleased by the outpouring of support and expects to reach the $10,000 goal.

The California Highway Patrol has an officer and a sergeant assigned to the investigation, said CHP Officer Art Montiel. They have no leads, Mr Montiel said.

Depending on the person's intent in spreading the tacks, charges could range from something very minor to aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, or even attempted murder, Mr. Montiel said.

Tacks on the road are not new. Cyclists interviewed for this story said they have been encountering them for years.

Help is available from passing cyclists, though. They have a habit of asking if assistance or parts are needed, Mr. Cook said. "It's a great sport that way because it's very cohesive among bike riders," he said.

One factor fueling this misbehavior may be the ongoing feud between cyclists and drivers over who has rights to the roads. The tension is as high as it's ever been, Mr. Cook said.

"It just takes a couple of bad apples to ruin it for everybody," he said. "We all need to share the road, and we all need to rally together to find out who's doing this."

Vandalizing public infrastructure is an act of cowardice, said Andrew Hsu, president of the Peninsula Velo cycling club, in an email. "If there are genuine concerns with cyclists that ride on KMR, this act will do nothing to solve any issues," he said.

"Cycling and cyclists riding in the Woodside area continues to be hotly debated within the community," he said. "Our club represents only a small fraction of cyclists that ride in and around Woodside. Our club members agree to abide by a set of road etiquette rules."

"Among our members, we are doctors, lawyers, teachers, small business owners, leaders in high tech," Mr. Hsu added. "Many of us are parents, some grandparents. We contribute to our local community with the local businesses that we support and the taxes that we pay."

Mr. Hsu said he is a competitive cyclist and a bicycle commuter and rides about 200 miles a week. "I've ridden King's more times than I can remember, and it is certainly one of my favorite routes," he said. "With so many other problems that the world is facing, I sincerely hope that we as a community can come together and end this reckless and senseless endangerment of people's lives on Kings Mountain Road."

Around 30 people have made pledges to contribute to a reward so far, Mr. Cook said, adding that he is investigating a way to get a third party to administer the campaign.

To contribute, write to Woodside.Crime.Fund@Gmail.com.

Earlier story: Tacks scattered on Woodside roads are hazard to cyclists.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Who do we contact to donate to the reward fund?

Should victims call 911 to contact the CHP?


5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Sep 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm

We are glad that the CHP is finally taking these crimes seriously and considering attempted murder charges. There is no reason for this violence in our community.


2 people like this
Posted by B W
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Unsafe at any speed?


16 people like this
Posted by Walter Cook
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 25, 2015 at 8:37 am

To answer of few of the above questions:

1. A fund titled "Woodside Crime Fund" has been started at the Woodside Wells Fargo Bank. I have posted the terms for the administration of this fund on Nextdoor Woodside which explain when the reward would be paid, when the fund would be returned to the pledgees if it is not claimed, and etc. I want to get an offer of a reward posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is doing this ASAP, but cannot do it until we have the funds on hand.

2. Victims should contact the CHP which has an open investigation about this. Do not report a tack attack through 911 unless it is a true emergency (i.e. there are physical injuries). If you are a victim of these crimes, be sure to collect the tacks, photograph and document the location and the damage. Transmit this evidence to the CHP.

3. The investigating CHP Sergeant is Sgt Sharma. Information, past and present, regarding these crimes should be communicated to him.


Thank you to everyone who has pledged support towards this.

Walter Cook


2 people like this
Posted by JimP
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 25, 2015 at 12:59 pm

I'd be happy to spend less time riding a bicycle on the roads and more time on trails. But then there are other groups of people who don't want to allow bicycles on off road connector routes into the hills. When it comes to public attitude, there seems to be no winning for the thousands of people who ride bicycles.


20 people like this
Posted by safe driver
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Happy to help with the bike/car etiquette, but to suggest having your bike facing me as I hike, or worse yet when I have an animal with limited directly forward sight under me on a trail barely 4 feet wide is preposterous. Keep your wheels on the road and work it out!


3 people like this
Posted by Sharing
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:18 pm

We need safe roads. No tacks! It is appalling that someone might do this deliberately.

We need safe trails. Wide trails usually are fine for sharing. Narrow steep trails with limited visibility are not safe for sharing by bikers and hikers (even those unaccompanied by small children or pets).


1 person likes this
Posted by cyclist/motorist/local
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for posting the photo on exactly what these tacks look like.
Yes they are difficult to spot even at slow speed while riding.

I can confirm that my flat in PV on Alpine was of that exact sort because the tack was still lodged in the tire when I found it & immediately suspected a foul

Bottom line: This is a regional problem.


27 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm

This is also a public relations problem.

Though they may be a minority, bicyclists who ignore traffic laws with impunity create bad will by their behavior if not by their very presence as an echo of that bad behavior.

Impunity breeds a search for a way to hit back with impunity. There can hardly be a more anonymous method than carpet tacks, all but untraceable and spread in a matter of a second or two.

Even the vile character who is doing this is probably open to a change of attitude if he or she if witnesses enough examples of bicyclist etiquette in practice.


2 people like this
Posted by Safe
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Sep 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm

That's disappointing to hear of. I wish that some people would be more considerate and think about the consequences of their actions. Mr. Boyce made some great points on why someone shouldn't do such actions, and with common sense, simple respect and consideration of road etiquette, and hopefully after reading this, this sort of incident won't happen again.


17 people like this
Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Regarding cycling etiquette and following the laws, I spent some time watching the intersection of Jefferson & Canada Road, a "T" intersection that cyclists heading southbound often run at full speed. What shocked me was how many motorists were similar. This is not just a scofflaw cycling issue; this is people in general not following the rules, continuing to text while driving, making right-hand turns without stopping or sometimes even slowing down, the list goes on and on and on.

What keeps us alive on the road is predictable and caring behavior. It's ironic to me that this newfound focus on bad cyclists comes at the same time people are driving their cars with the windows rolled up, music up loud, texting and generally just not paying attention to what they should be doing.

How did we get here? What is it going to take to bring responsibility back to our roads?

One final note- As owner of Chain Reaction Bicycles for the past 36 years, I hear it all. What I have trouble with most are those cyclists who believe that riding on the road should be a bucolic experience where one doesn't have to be constantly aware of those they're sharing the road with. We forget that, when driving a car, if you're not looking out for the other person, you're going to have accidents. Same thing when riding. We stay alive by looking out for ourselves, whether driving or cycling.

Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles


49 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

All people need to follow the law. Incidents with bikes/cars are on the increase. Recently, a bicyclist was arrested for using a large bike lock to smash the windows/windshield of an automobile in S. F. He was identified and arrested and cried like a baby when the judge set bail at $90,000. Real tough guy. Didn't bother to contact the police UNTIL arrest and put in jail. I am sure there is more to the story and who knows what the auto driver did.

Putting tacks on a roadway isn't appropriate either and should lead to an arrest.


5 people like this
Posted by Dan Connelly
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm

On the other hand, the driver in the critical mass incident committed an intentional hit and run -- the riders were blocking the car to allow the ride to pass, verbally instructed the driver to not move forward, and the driver hit the gas anyway.

Whatever you think about blocking cars for a demonstration ride intentionally driving into people is never acceptable. Yet the DA in this instance filed charges only on the cyclist for what was exclusively property damage as the driver was trying to flee the scene after colliding with the other rider.

As Mike points out, cyclists are held to a higher standard by drivers than they hold themselves. And in the tack case, some bozo is intentionally risking the lives of innocent riders because of false perception of turf rights. It's juvenile and very illegal. He needs to be thrown in jail.

Dropcam anyone?


33 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 25, 2015 at 6:14 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Intentional act or scared? Blocking/ordering people around isn't correct either. He cried like a baby. If he was soooo correct, why run like a child, stay and talk to the police. He is damn lucky he didn't get run over, the coward.


1 person likes this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Water is a registered user.

Mike - Thank you for such a thoughtful, informative post. Your comment about riders thinking cycling should be a bucolic experience made me think of scenes from Brit TV shows and movies, like Downton Abbey and Midsomer Murders, where someone is riding, helmetless, through the countryside, or on their family estate, or through a quaint village. Or - I hate to admit it - I even choked down one episode of Cedar Cove, in which the area's presiding judge cycled through town, minus her helmet, never breaking a sweat. I know I'm focusing on a petty issue, but these are powerful images that are hard to get away from and just don't connect with reality here! A lot of law-breaking cyclists are of course drivers, and law-breaking drivers may also be cyclists. I wonder how much their behavior change when they switch vehicles?

I hope that this reward, the media attention and the chatter in the hills stops the guilty party(ies) in their tracks.


11 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Sep 25, 2015 at 8:26 pm

It's kind of laughable that drivers complain about cyclists not following the rules. Anybody drive 280 in the morning? Everyone is going 65 right? Nobody up on Skyline is passing on blind curves. No such thing as a "California stop" because all cars stop at the stop signs. Everyone stays right except to pass. Nobody out there tailgating or weaving in and out of their lanes, or texting while driving or talking on a hand-held cellphone. Nobody running that red light to get to work faster. Or wait, maybe I see almost all of those things every day.

Of course cyclists ignore lots of the rules too, but those who said there's kind of a double standard here are correct. Personally when I'm on a bike I go out of my way to follow every rule exactly so as not to propagate the stereotype. I have to admit though that I still occasionally may exceed 65mph by a bit when I'm driving on 280.


Like this comment
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Water is a registered user.

John - that was my point. Scofflaw cyclists are likely crappy drivers.


15 people like this
Posted by Walter Cook
a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 26, 2015 at 7:17 am

While lively debate is great, I want to remind everybody that these tacks are not a Cyclist vs. Driver issue. It transcends that. Both cyclists and car drivers have been getting flats because of these tacks. Just one driver on Nextdoor Woodside reported that she has suffered three flat car tires over a very short course of time from these tacks.

What I would really like to see is the drivers, the cyclists, the hikers, and the equestrians rallying together to stop this terrorist. It is just a matter of time before a member of one of these groups gets maimed or killed because of a tack induced flat. This is that serious. Let's all work together to stop it.

Walter Cook


14 people like this
Posted by Scott McMahon
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

@Joe,
Bicyclists, as a class, do not need to be perfect citizens to be allowed safe access to the roads. The behavior that angers drivers the most is not illegal running of stop signs, it's going slower than a car in an area where passing is not safe, and slowing the driver down, a legal behavior. Notice that the tacks are never scattered at the intersection near the stop sign.

In terms of perfect behavior, drivers routinely exceed the 25 mph speed limit in my neighborhood, but no one is trying to sabotage their cars.

The folks who object to bicyclists on the road don't need the "scofflaw" excuse. They just don't think they should have to share the road, no matter what the law says. Most drivers are considerate. A few think that by making the roads unsafe (by driving dangerously around all cyclists regardless of compliance with the law, or even by scattering tacks) they can discourage all cyclists and clear the road for their own unimpeded use. The flimsiest excuse is all you need if you're already mad.


5 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm

@Scott McMahon: Thank you for putting this issue in its proper perspective.

Anyone who thinks there is ANY justification for sowing tacks along Kings Mountain Road is WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. The "bad behavior" of bicyclists does not justify placing their lives at risk. If there is an issue concerning bicyclists along the route, it should be dealt with -- in a PROPER fashion.

Playing God is never a good idea.


5 people like this
Posted by eastcoast
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2015 at 8:23 am

I'm on the East Coast but want to donate money to the fund. How do I go about this? Call the Wells Fargo bank in Woodside?


2 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2015 at 8:41 am

really? is a registered user.

Great to see the OTH gang leading the charge on this issue.


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Scott - how do you know a motorist is guilty of scattering tacks?


1 person likes this
Posted by Barney
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:27 pm

hmmmm - good question. Could be a local homeowner. Or false flag.


13 people like this
Posted by Barney
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Or horse owner. They generally detest bicycles - spooks a great many horse.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Robert D. is a registered user.

@Barney should be banned from this Town Square. This is not a witch hunt, it is a criminal investigation and it is also an open discussion in how to share the road (and trails). There is no need for someone to add in that type of comment or cause that type of 'witch hunt' where we focus on a "minority" of the people that traverse the road. Discrimination of any type should not be tolerated.


56 people like this
Posted by Barney
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Sep 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

whaaaa???

You say: "This is not a witch hunt, it is a criminal investigation and it is also an open discussion in how to share the road (and trails)."

Yet the post is titled: Woodside man raises reward funds in effort to nab tack-scatterer on Kings Mountain Road

Dial it back, dude.


48 people like this
Posted by La Hondan
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

I think this is an symptom of a deeper community problem. This is not about bicyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers, horseback riders or pedestrians. It's about courtesy and civility. I see more and more selfish, "me first" behavior on our roads all of the time. Whether it is a clump of cyclists blowing through a stop sign, or a tourist poking up Hwy. 84 at 15 miles below the speed limit but never turning out to let traffic flow, or cars or motorcycles recklessly passing on blind curves, it is all about "Me! Me! Me!" and everyone else be damned.

Is it the overwhelming sense of privilege that seems to inhabit the minds of so many of our neighbors? Is it just bad manners and selfishness? Is it petty-mindedness and shallow thinking? We're supposed to be a community, let's act like one.


1 person likes this
Posted by Georgia
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm

This is a terrible threat to people, and a terrible thing to do. And for the record, I'd care as much about the safety of those in the bicycle club (and those not in the club) if they weren't just "...we are doctors, lawyers, teachers, small business owners, leaders in high tech, ... Many of us are parents, some grandparents." In other words, I don't see how listing the professions and parental status of the club members helps raise awareness to the gravity of this crime. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone for their efforts in trying to find out who is doing this and how to stop them.


Like this comment
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 3, 2015 at 8:07 am

pogo is a registered user.

The comment by La Hondan may be the best thing I've ever read on this site.

Kudos - you captured the problem perfectly.


Like this comment
Posted by Dan S.
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Yes, and please let us not forget that in 2015, the residents of Woodside approved six out of eight special events that are cycling related and have been doing so for years…

Thank You!

2015 WOODSIDE APPROVED SPECIAL EVENTS:

SEQUOIA CENTURY
Based in Palo Alto, we host recreational road bike rides virtually every day of the week on the Peninsula and South Bay, and occasionally farther afield. We have rides suitable for beginners, as well as social rides for experienced cyclists and challenging rides for dedicated enthusiasts.

ENDUE Classic
An annual celebration of life and its wonderful gifts. Ride with us and enjoy the beauty of the SF Bay Peninsula while raising awareness of the people who want to ride but can’t; those with developmental disabilities like Down’s syndrome and Autism.

TOUR DE CURE
You are why we ride! We celebrate everyone who lives with type-1 and type-2 diabetes as our heroes on the day of the event.

BIKE 4 BREATH RIDE
Join hundreds of cyclists participating in Breathe California’s annual Bike 4 Breath Ride and help raise funds for clean air and lung health programs in communities across the Bay Area. The family-friendly event is open to rides of all ages and abilities, with 5 scenic routes along the peninsula to choose from (10, 18, 30, 50 and 63 miles long).

TOUR DE PENINSULA
The San Mateo County Parks Foundation, Tour de Peninsula. This family ride offers a variety of bicycle routes on beautiful courses designed to suit everyone from young children and first time riders to serious cyclists.

CANARY CHALLENGE
Canary Challenge raised $1,155,627. Donations directly benefit Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection.


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