Bicyclist hit by blow dart on Ballard Bridge

Around 6 p.m. on Monday, Avram says he was hit by a 4-inch blow dart while crossing the Ballard Bridge. He sent us this email:

I was riding on the east side bike lane, heading north. I heard a little “pop” sound then felt a sting. My first reaction was that it was a rock that had been run over and shot out at me. It kept stinging so I reached down and felt the dart sticking out of me. I pulled it out and once I realized what it was, looked ahead at the cars to see if I could tell which car it was. Unfortunately, there were too many and by then they were well ahead of me. I stopped once I got to the end of the bridge to make sure I wasn’t bleeding, then rode home and called police.

Avram says he went to the ER and received a tetanus shot. He sent us this photo of the dart next to his remote control to provide some size perspective:

“I was also hit with a dart in Ballard,” says “Mksprout” in the forum, explaining that it happened while riding on 8th Ave. between 50th and 51st, also on Monday evening. “I have reported this to the police and encourage others to do the same,” Mksprout says.

Update: Police say “Mksprout,” a 39-year-old woman, said she was struck in the thigh by the dart. Investigators have no suspects in both cases, which occurred within 30 minutes of each other on Monday. By the way, since this story ran on, all four TV stations and the Seattle Times has covered it.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

109 thoughts to “Bicyclist hit by blow dart on Ballard Bridge”

  1. It's hard enough dodging traffic around there – now we have to be on the lookout for darts? I sure hope they find out who's doing this, but I don't know how they will. Glad those hit were not too badly hurt.

  2. insane loser types do this. dangerous and quite willing to kill someone, seemingly. to hit someone on the bridge(or anywhere, but esp on the bridge) shows a total lack of common sense. someone could easily die from this behavior.

    yeah, those bike riders in your way on the ballard bridge? what a jackass.

  3. Alright, all the bike haters posting to this forum, get your alibis ready. Kidding, kidding.

    Doood, really, hope you're OK. That's scary, scary s&%t.

  4. I hope the police take it very seriously? What if it hit him in the eye? in the carotid artery? What if he fell into traffic?

    An aggressive lawyer could pursue attempted murder.


  5. Having grown up in Ballard I am not at all suprised. I have known plenty of people who do this kind of stuff.

    Even so, I do not think that widespread use of cameras is the right way to go.

  6. I had someone throw a glass beer bottle at me from a passing car once, but never a dart. It's truly unbelievable how f-ing stupid some people are.

  7. I recognize that dart, its the same style that came with my blow gun. They are extremely accurate, even from long distances. I bet its from dumb kids in a passing car, I also bet they will continue to do it, but will be spotted at some point. If it was me who was shot, I would get the most aggressive lawyer and pursue attempted murder chargers.

  8. holy crap! what is wrong with people?!? this is so dangerous. I'm so glad the injuries were more substantial. this is truly frightening.

  9. It's not about being in the way because both Ballard Bridge and 8th Ave have designated bike lanes. Especially Ballard Bridge because you can't ride a bike on the surface of the bridge that cars ride over because of how bumpy it is. So whoever is doing this has no agenda other than being a sadistic little b*st*rd.

  10. WTF? For realzzz?? Not sure what'd I'd do if I even saw who shot me with a blow dart. I think I'd be in shock and just look at them like a deer in headlights.

  11. I'm not betting on them being caught. AFAIK they never caught the person who was shooting cyclists with a pellet gun last year.

  12. This is the scariest thing I've heard lately! I can understand throwing snowballs at passing cars or even cyclists, but pointed dangerous objects, and bottles too apparently…. I don't normally feel vengeful (sp?) but this makes me livid.

  13. I don't have the kind of rock-solid nerves that it would take to commute across the Ballard Bridge. I did it once and decided that that was plenty. You've got a tiny little path, with projections jutting out on one side and cars a foot away on the other, on the other side of a divider that's at exactly the right height to catch your pedal.

    Messing with someone who's navigating that obstacle course is like walking up a surgeon mid-cut and yelling in his ear.

  14. Several of my neighbors commute by bicycle and they are in great shape. One guy is way over 60 and fit as an olympic swimmer. Pretty impressive compared to the typical redneck beer gut.

  15. And…all credibility is thrown out the window.

    More likely it is some idiot teenager than a “redneck of industrial ballard”.

    But I'll give you some points for trying to use this to further your personal agenda regarding the missing link.

  16. Not to belittle the lameness of someone shooting a dart at anyone else, but aren't you supposed to walk a bicycle across bridges, but last time I took a cycling safety class I was about 6 so I could be way off….

  17. I've been a law-abiding cyclist in this city for the past eight years. Today my bike is being parked permanently. This is the last straw. I value my life more than I value a nice bike ride. Besides, it's not fun anymore, and it hasn't been for quite a while. Between the verbal abuse, the ignorant, inattentive and increasingly malevolent drivers, and now the fraking nut jobs, I'm parking it. Now it's me and 3/4 ton truck you'll see plying the streets and stinking up the place. And if I ever see someone threaten or harm a cyclist, you better believe I will report your license plate and detailed description with a smile on my face, and I will also be there to testify at your trial.

    ps. Thanks a lot to the Critical Mass anarchists and Cascade Bicycle Club do-gooders for continually persisting in making cycling a confrontational issue in this city. You've done far more harm than good.

  18. Critical Mass and Cascade are not at all the same. They have very different approaches. Despite some overlap in membership, often there's not much love lost between the two groups. I personally am a Cascade member and quite dislike Critical Mass.

  19. What has Cascade done wrong? I'm not being a jerk, I'd really like to know what you have against them. I thought they were trying to get more bike lanes built, etc.

    Oh and, people in cars are cowards. As an ex-professional driver, avid cyclist and a new motorcyclist, I can't tell you how many altercations I've been in. But, having said that, it still beats riding in SF or NYC. And 1000's of people do it there. For the most part I try to not let it bother me or lose my focus but, a dart? On that bridge!?

  20. yeah, remember the guy who hit the bump out and was propelled into oncoming traffic? he didn't make it. i can imagine being darted could cause the same loss of control.

  21. what does TV have to do with anything I said? Please explain.

    I have spent way too much time working in emergency rooms and seeing stupid injuries that resulted in serious health problems and tragedies and yes, death.

  22. Komo just mentioned the story about this. It's incredible to consider folks being capable of this crap. I'm just happy that the results weren't more serious, and I hope these idiots are caught before they can do more harm.

  23. While I doubt it was anyone involved in the current bike trail issue, the shared attitude is pretty similar. “F those stupid spandex ____es on bikes!”
    When one group, which in this case is at least a driver and shooter, assault another group they don't know personally, in this case the cyclists, they've on some level regarded the victims as lesser than themselves, or even less than people. This is the same kind of attitude as hate crimes, “the _____ are scum and are destroying our _______” and the attacks are intended to silence or intimidate the group as a whole.
    This particular case is most likely just a couple of F___tards who think this is funny, but there is still an element of attacking “the others” here. These F__tards don't realize it, but when they're caught they'll be in for some serious assault charges. They will be caught because F___tards can't keep their mouths shut and will eventually pull some other douchebaggery on their friends, or friends of friends they've bragged to and then they're caught.

  24. Since this has gotten some wider attention from SeattlePI, TV news, etc, these F___tards will get caught. They'll brag to their friends and being F___tards, they'll eventually piss them off and they'll rat them out.

  25. A blow dart is not thrown, it is “shot” – people use them to kill small animals in the jungle. And yes, they could do some serious damage.

  26. I am not sure why throwing anything, including a snowball, at a car, a cyclist or a pedestrian in ok or “understandable”. I hope I never meet you as you have said one of the scariest things I have heard lately.

  27. “I can understand throwing snowballs at passing cars or even cyclists…”

    This makes you just as much of a jackass as the guy with the blowgun. So far this year I've been hit by
    – an apple core (annoying and messy, but far less than lethal.)
    – loose change (twice. Getting hit with a handful of nickels at 60mph is damned painful and left a nice series of cuts.)
    – a half full can of soda (at least I was moving the same direction for this one and it lessened the impact. I still ended up with a bruise which lasted 2 weeks.)

    I can't imagine what lack of intelligence it takes to justify the action of throwing *anything* at a cyclist.
    I'm guessing that the lack of accountability has a lot to do with it. I've never had a pedestrian or a driver in stop-and-go city traffic throw anything at me. I've never had anyone stop and confront me after throwing something. Only the anonymous cowards flying past, often in the opposite direction, with no chance of personal confrontation.
    Is your (or anyone who would do such a thing) life so devoid of meaning and purpose that the only way you can feel better about yourself is through the random assault of strangers? If that's the case, why stop at just pelting cyclists as you pass by… I'm sure there are some sleeping homeless guys you could kick to round out your week.

  28. Count me as another confused soul, wondering what exactly is it that Cascade Bike Club has done to make things worse…
    – lobbying for safe bicycle infrastructure in the city?
    – promoting traffic safety through cyclist education courses (both children and adult)?

    … or do you own a home in LFP and don't like the constant legal battle over the B-G Trail being considered a county right-of-way over your private roads?
    … or maybe you stand to lose a few parking spots if “The Missing Link” is completed?

    Short of being dead, there's nothing which will keep me from cycling. Not the stories of what happens to others, nor the things which have happened to me (and will likely continue, given the current state of things.)

  29. Time to apply for a concealed weapons permit.
    I ride that bridge daily and will continue to do so.
    Any idea which direction the victim was travelling on the bridge?

  30. That's exactly what these idiots want, to scare you off your bike. I don't fault Cascade, the cyclist vs driver issues have always been bubbling under the surface, the trail issues have only brought them to a head.

    Don't let the bastards drive you down!

  31. I ride my bike from ballard to lake union on nice days in the summer. Yesterday i witnessed a mom with three kids in the car backup into an intersection another make a u-turn in the middle of a intersection, one totally ran a red light and yet another make an illegal left hand turn all in about 3 minutes it was truly unbelievable. But what really makes it unbelievable is that i see this everyday. Yes bikers can be jerks and so can drivers.

  32. Hey, I'm the cyclist that was hit on the bridge. It's funny reading all of these comments that stemmed from something that happened to me. Good news: I've done interviews with KIRO and KING already today with Q13 up next. Watch during the 6 hour for the first two so you can see my ugly mug talking about it.

  33. Yeah, pedestrians are too easy to catch.
    I think you might be right about accountability. Somebody wanting to be an a-hole without the consequences.

  34. The line between a civil society and anarchy is a very fine line, indeed. Having read the other comments, I am at least pleased to see that the Hate All Cyclists Klub hasn't chimed in too much. YET! I am a daily commute cyclist and weekend recreational cyclist. I'll be damned if I'm going to let some scrawny ass punk, some redneck with an attitude, some negligent driver who doesn't know enough to simply give me 3' of room when they're passing or some asshole with a dart gun or pellet gun run me off the road. If I hang my bicycle up, the bad guys win. I refuse to allow that to occur. We have worked too hard to gain what we have. It is only through INCREASING our numbers on the road that we will increase the safety of our riding. It is not going to be through legislation or enforcement of laws but through a long, drawn out process of social acceptance of others who are different from us that will eventually bring us the respect we deserve on the road. And even then there will be jerks. Some will be drivers. Some will be pedestrians. Some will be cops. And some of them will be cyclists. It won't do me any good to pack heat. The driver who is traveling 35 mph while a passenger takes a pot shot from a moving car is going to be gone before I could ever shoot back. Violence will only beget more violence.

    Hopefully the shitforbrains who did this will eventually be apprehended and brought to justice. Not very likely, but there's always a little bit of hope. Of course, just apprehending said perpetrators doesn't ever mean justice will be served. Our local law enforcement doesn't seem real interested in pursuing this kind of crime. A bit of a cursory investigation so they can say they've done due diligence, no easy answers and so they close their book and move on to the next one unless someone actually hands the case to them on a platter.

  35. Well the last time i checked this was america and i can say whatever i F— please. Where does it say the post have to be about this please show me. Still not seeing it.

  36. I'm sorry that you totally misunderstood my post, Clifton and Ballardbard. You make a lot of assumptions about what I meant instead of asking me for clarification. I meant no such thing, not even close. Somehow I have a feeling that if I explain in better detail what I was trying to say, it will fall on deaf ears.

    You guys are pretty nasty and scary yourselves.

  37. But I'll clarify for the sake of anyone else who was confused by what I said (but didn't make assumptions): I don't condone throwing anything at anyone, but I can “see” kids & teens feeling ok about throwing snowballs at cars. I can “see” how they might take that up a notch and try pelting somebody passing by. I can “see” it because lots of kids did it, and still do it. Did I say I condoned it? No I didn't.

    I'm not sure I can “see” (understand) how kids feel ok about darts.


  38. Also, I don't think this should be turned into a cyclists v drivers issue. You can't blame all drivers for this. For all we know it could be some one not in a car.

  39. The title of the story?
    Just tired of hearing the bike vs car debate. Getting old. And as an American I have the right to say that.

  40. Darts, really, thats just f'n mean. What ever happened to just turning the windshield washer jets to point to the side of the road. With water that is, not washer fluid, too costly. Water is cheap. Now at least thats funny.

    Darts just go way beyond a prank. Sorry you guys are getting hit by darts. I hope they downgrade to supersoakers. At least while it so damn hot out.

  41. I commute by bicycle over the Ballard Bridge daily. Between the narrow, crappy sidewalk that the city apparently thinks suffices as a facility that cyclists and pedestrians can safely share, being inches from cars and commercial trucks whizzing by at 40+ throwing off debris, and strong and ever-changing winds it really isn't safe to begin with. Anyone seen the signs posted by Terry McMacken's family that went up this week? Enough said.

    The distraction caused by getting unexpectedly jabbed by a sharp object is easily enough to cause a momentary loss of control, and on the Ballard Bridge specifically that can mean the difference between life and death. I hope the person doing this comes to his/her senses and realizes this is no joke. If they don't, they need to be locked up for a good long time.

  42. i don't understand the mentality of throwing anything at people on the road–snowballs, wiper fluid, darts. is it ok if next time i'm on my bike and stop next to you in your car at a red light if i just unload my water bottle on you through your open window and then speed away? i hope maybe you're on your way to a nice dinner out, or maybe a job interview. why do we have to be such jerks?

  43. The pellet gun incident was also covered in the press but those a-holes still haven't been caught. I'd love to see these guys get caught but realistically, I'm not optimistic about it happening.

  44. Yep, I've spent plenty of time in NYC, SF as well as Boston, Phoenix and LA. Anyone who thinks Seattle is bad really doesn't have a clue or hasn't traveled much!! Seattle drivers are FAR more polite and courteous than drivers in other cities.

  45. I think his point is that most cyclists are in better shape than most non-cyclists which would mean picking a fight with one is probably not wise move.

    One thing people should also keep in mind when driving around cyclists is that there are a LOT of cops who are also avid cyclists. It would really suck if the cyclist you cut off or threaten turns out to be one. When I lived in SF some a-hole tried to run us off the road with his pickup. Unfortunately, he did this right as we passed over the top of a climb. We had no problem catching up to him on the long and twisty descent and when he stopped at a red light my riding buddy reached in his window, pulled the jackass out of the car by his collar, slammed him to the pavement and shoved his shiny SFPD star in his face. The look on that morons face when he realized he'd tried to run a cop off the road was truly priceless. Oh yeah, that was good day to be a cyclist!!!

  46. I may be wrong, but I hear Ted Kazynski (sp) got his start this way. He thought it would be funny to make little packages explode in his classes.

    Why is it so hard to believe there are cretins and miscreants out there, who get their jollys in this fashion?

    I think the warnings on those things state they can be lethal, this could be prosecuted as assault with a deadly weapon.

    Anybody figure a profile on the shooter? 17-19 yr old white male, alone? Or with a driver/partner.

    Really a nasty bit of business, makes me sick…

  47. IF YOU GET HIT WITH A DART DO NOT TOUCH THE BACK END AS IT IS PROBABLY COVERED WITH THE PERPETRATOR'S DNA. I would imagine that a blowgun would leave the back of the dart covered with at least a few droplets of saliva. You should insist that the police take it in as evidence. I'm surprised they didn't, actually.

  48. The problem with Cascade is their approach. Every bike issue gets turned into a moral imperative and a power confrontation, and they never, I repeat, NEVER, back down when one of their sacred ideas is shown to be maybe not quite so hot. The missing link on the BG is a prime example as anyone with a high enough IQ to turn a crankset can see that is a horrible place to put a bike route. And let me add I am not at all enamored of the businesses that are fighting the missing link either. Specifically, Ballard Oil does not deliver fuel to my house as a direct result of their opposition.

    I am sick of the polarization politics as usual in Seattle, and Cascade is second only to Critical Mass in this regard when it comes to cycling. The one (huge) thing in favor of Cascade is they operate legally. But it doesn't mean they are really doing the vast majority of bicyclists a favor. Biking used to be fun and relatively safe around here until bicycling groups got into crusade mode about the moral superiority of cycling and pissed off just about everyone that doesn't ride. Instead of trying to polarize everyone on the issue, how about showing some real leadership in trying to sooth the relations between cyclist and motorists?

    Folks can talk about how much worse it is in other cities but just like most other big city issues Seattle is just 20 years behind the curve, and our bike groups are just really getting organized using the same techniques “that worked” in those cities, so don't worry we're well on our way to the complete anarchy between cyclists and motorists that exists in New York and San Francisco.

  49. Good work Chrispy, you're hired!

    Dried spittle on the pusher end. Brilliant.

    Maybe a few skin flakes on the shaft, when he loaded it.

    The blowgunner still on the loose, be wary.. Maybe he'll take some time off , go back to mutilating cats, let things cool down on the blowgun front.

    You could put out an eye with those things. Wonder if they make more shots but miss. Look out for extra darts on the street?

  50. I like to hope that we're taking baby steps toward the cycling-friendliness of cities like Amsterdam and Munich. You're right, the big problem is that the cycling community is only just now (the last decade) getting seriously organized. These big cultural issues need lots of time to shake out.

    I don't see Cascade as putting on an air of moral superiority. Some of its members do, sure. But I've never seen anything from Cascade itself that wasn't reasonably professional.

    Regarding “polarizing everyone”, you might want to stay away from comments like “anyone with a high enough IQ to turn a crankset can see that is a horrible place to put a bike route”. That's simply not true — there are smart people on all sides of this discussion. We can disagree without calling each other stupid.

  51. You need to stop watching CSI. For starters, DNA tests don't come cheap -especially when you factor in the time to look at the results and cross reference them against criminal databases, namely the CODIS database maintained by the FBI. Of course you also need to have a DNA profile to match them to. If the person who fired the dart hasn't previously been convicted of a crime qualifying for entry into CODIS or the Washington State database (people convicted of felonies and certain sex related misdemeanors) then you're not going to get a match and the test will do nothing to help you. Finally, there is the issue of backlog. There's only one lab in Washington doing DNA analysis and that's run by the State Patrol. They get 3,000 new cases and year and are over 1,000 cases behind and growing.

    But hey, let's live in CSI TV Fantasyland for a second and assume they actually do submit the dart for testing and it actually comes back with a match and does so in a timely manner. Sounds great except now you have to track down and find the idiot. Good luck with this one since criminals tend not to be very good about telling the government where they're living. On top of that there are thousands of outstanding arrest warrants in King County – many for violent offenders – and very, very few cops actually dedicated to bringing them in.

  52. Accusing me of this, even with a smiley, is unconscionable.

    Heated comments are one thing, but this is way, way over the line.

    You should be ashamed. I would appreciate an apology.


  53. i was just about to post this myself. i hate csi tv fantasyland. and for the record, none of the forensic anthropologists i've known have ever carried a gun or worn leather pants in the field. i'm just sayin…

  54. Sounds like you have a real handle on this case SeaSpider, maybe you could do the DNA test for us, save the WSP the time, and cut back on their backlog.

    I think with SeaSpider and some others on the case, the perp won't be on the streets long, but inside the prison palace, taking lessons in bending over and picking up the soap from a large inmate named Bubba.

    What's the scoop SeaSpider, what are the chances of our perp “hooking up” with Bubba soon?

    Any one willing to make a friendly wager?

  55. Man, you got that right. I was in Baltimore a few weeks ago and I made the mistake of stopping to let someone pull out of a parking garage, just like all the friendly wavy people do here, and there was so much honking and carrying on behind me that I thought they were going to drag me out of the car and give me the ol' Rodney King right there in front of my hotel.

    Luckily I'm a quick learner and didn't give an inch for the rest of my trip!

  56. Give me a break…… you make mean spirited comments, borderline threats……and someone makes a joke at your expense for being a blow hard and your feelings are hurt… apology coming from me.

  57. I thought maybe you deleted your comment and that was the best I would get.

    But the GeekySwedes must have deleted it instead.

    The joke wasn't about me being a blow hard. It was accusing me of something other commenters consider attempted murder.

    The comment and your response say volumes about your character.

    I am asking again for an apology.

  58. LOL and once again you won't receive one. I didn't accuse you, just thought that a blow hard like yourself would be one to suspect of being good with a blow gun, that is all. It was following the post that profiled a likely perp.

    I read what you have written, see how you twist words, ignore facts that are presented, etc. I won't apologize for an obvious joke.

  59. Chances are slim to none which is kind of what I was pointing out to those who get their impressions of police work from television.

  60. Oh for the love of all that is holy, cut the “rednecks of Ballard” crap.All those guys are far too busy working.

    This is no doubt the same sort of person who throws rocks from overpasses. The last incident of that kind was two 20-somethings, a guy and a girl.

  61. Let's leave the Ballard “industrial” guys out of this, shall we? I find it highly unlikely that 40-something guys would jeapordize their jobs/lives to do something like this.

    More likely it was some 20-something like the two Brain Trust specimans in this story, below. They threw rocks off an overpass, damaging 14 cars; it's a miracle no one was killed. I saw the 23 year old guy on TV whee this happened; he said he “just liked to hear the sound of the rocks crashing.” Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about this; it seems like this kind of behavior is becoming more common.

  62. What a tough shot to hit a cyclist with a blow dart from a moving car. Even for a skilled blowdart operator, the odds of contact are probably way less than 50%.

    I bet they had to shoot at a lot of cyclists to hit 2.

  63. Likewise, I'm not optimistic about them catching that biker in last year's Critical Mass mess that hit the car driver in the head with a bicycle lock. Of course, there were only a couple dozen bikers as witnesses, but they're morally superior anyway, so how can you expect one of them to come forward? And for all you Cascade Biclycl Club defenders, where was the call from Cascade Bicycle Club for that person to turn himself/herself in? I'm just asking.

  64. Are you talking about the incident on Capitol Hill where the guy was late for his dinner reservation so he plowed his car into the crowd of Critical Mass riders, running over several of them before being stopped by other cyclists? Yeah, they didn't the cite the driver, though he intentionally tried to maim/kill a few people, but they did cite a few of the cyclists.
    Or are you talking about the two guys who jumped out of their car and started beating up passing cyclists? Turned out they were cops of some kind, but they didn't pull out badges or ID themselves until someone tried to break up their fight.
    I'm not a huge fan of Critical Mass, especially when it pulls in front of me, but big deal. You slow down and watch it go by just like a parade or a funeral procession would, then you move on. Do you freak out and hate all industry when a construction project causes you to stop for a minute?

  65. “And for all you Cascade Biclycl Club defenders, where was the call from Cascade Bicycle Club for that person to turn himself/herself in? I'm just asking.”

    Fair enough but by the same token I've yet to hear the Washington State AAA call for the motorist who fired the dart to turn themselves in. For that matter I can't recall the AAA ever asking for any motorist to turn themselves in for a crime committed with a car. Why should Cascade be any different? Cyclists may have a moral superiority complex but is that any worse than the entitlement complex of motorists who seem to think the roads exist solely for their personal use (never mind said roads existed LONG before cars were invented or that cyclists also pay taxes or what the law says with regards to sharing the road…)

  66. D batteries work well too. If some one hits me with a dart they better be ready to break a ton of traffic laws because I will catch up to them. You endanger my safety and I will will return the favor!

  67. Glad to hear it. One less cyclist on the road sounds great to me. Now if only all the rest of the cyclists will stop riding, life would be good.

  68. Oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I want an apology!!!!!


    I need to quit giving my thoughts, my hot air is eroding the ozone, and contributing to the global warming!!!!

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