The Chainlink

Help me with a project THIS WEEK: Tell me about broken glass in your way!

Chainlinkers —

 

I'm doing a very short (like this week only) project about broken glass in the streets. I'd like to observe some broken glass in action, doing what it does best. I'm looking for the following things:

  • Locations where there is glass in the bike lane RIGHT NOW, on the sidewalk or in a part of the road where a lot of bikes are riding, especially within 2 - 3 miles of the Loop (just given the time constraints for this project). You can post it here, you can message me, you can tweet it with the hashtag #brknglass.
  • Your stories about glass in the street/in the bike lane/on the sidewalk. Why don't you like it? What has it done to you? What would you do about it? What have you done about it? What do you recommend?
  • Your pictures of glass in the street/in the bike lane/on the sidewalk/places where it doesn't belong and/or pictures of flats and damaged caused by broken glass.

I hope some of you are able to help direct me to some good broken glass in the road (I will call 311 after I observe it, so it will be removed, eventually). I'll share some of my findings here on this conversation!

 

Thanks for your help, bikers of Chicago!

 

-Liz

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There were a couple of really bad patches on Augusta today, between Kedzie and Damen
Liz Kramer said:

Does anyone have stories like Carly's of seeing people make the broken glass mess?

I've had a bottle come flying over the fence on the west side of Damen on the north approach to the Chicago River bridge just south of Diversey. Dont know if I was the target or it was just a coincidence.

Today I rode down Larrabee from Clybourn to Oak instead of taking my normal Clybourn to Division to Well, and there was a bunch of glass around, as well as terrible pavement.  The chaos of the turn onto Division is much more pleasant. 


I don't think it has anything to do with being drunk.  I see people throw food wrappers and other garbage right out onto the street and sidewalk without a second thought.  Even on their own block. Cameron had one neighbor throw bottles from the third floor window onto the open area behind the building where several people lock up bikes and is the access to the laundry room.   Some people are just not concerned with making a mess.

 

After the snow melt off this year I was truly disgusted at the amount of garbage that collected in humbolt park over the winter.
Melanie said:

I wish I truly knew why some people feel it is okay to drop/smash bottles on the sidewalks or streets.  I personally think it is because they are too drunk and stupid to realize what they are doing until after it is done as I don't want to believe they would do something like that fully sober.  Of course, I fear I may be wrong on that. 

I sell glass for a living. I can tell you that the majority of the glass you see in the bike lane will not puncture a tire or cut flesh for that matter. The majority of the glass you see is tempered which does not have any sharp edges.

Paul,

 

Can you say a little more about the tempered glass? Is that the glass that is from auto windows? Whats the difference? Where could I find out more?

 

Thanks again to everyone for the discussion and the locations. It's actually been shockingly clean on the streets today, but I've got a few more spots to check out. It's great to hear stories from all of you!

 

Paul Bracht said:

I sell glass for a living. I can tell you that the majority of the glass you see in the bike lane will not puncture a tire or cut flesh for that matter. The majority of the glass you see is tempered which does not have any sharp edges.

I picked up the following glass shard somewhere on the trails and streets to Kenosha a few weeks ago.  The glass was embedded in the thick tread of the tire.  I used my pocket knife (dull end of the bottle opener piece) to pry out the shard.  I didn't find the shard of glass the first time around.  It took a couple turns of the wheel and peering into each crevasse with my pocket knife until I finally find the culprit.  In the first picture, you can see the glass shard partially in the tread.  In the second picture you can see a similar cut in the tread that resembles the size of tread opening the glass shard was in. The glass piece was not easily visible from the outside.  I think I found it on the inside of the tire and pushed it out from there. You can also see how big the piece of glass was compared to my average to small thumb.  I patched it and was on my way, making it to Kenosha that day, and eventually just outside of Madison a couple days later.

I notice most of my glass flats are from wet conditions.  During and after a rain the glass has a chance to "stick" on the tire and get pushed.
When I rode with a group for Bike the Boulevard, bikers in front of me would dodge glass and point down to it so other cyclists could avoid it.  I try to do that if I'm riding with someone or even when a stranger is biking behind me.  Simply pointing down as you swerve tells someone behind you to look out, whether it's a pothole or a glass garden.
Most glass in autos other than the windshields is tempered. Windshields are considered laminated.
There seems to be an epidemic of broken glass on the North Side.  I'm glad I don't live there!

Mark, thanks for your flat pictures. That looks super annoying, but they're great for these purposes.

 

Everyone else: I went on the lookout for glass yesterday at the places cited, but even the Finkle Factory was a bust (although there was a knife in the bike lane?). So, keep the updates coming...and I'll keep looking.

 

That's Murphy's Law in full effect. Easy to find broken glass when you're not looking for it. But it's gone when you do!  

Liz Kramer said:

Mark, thanks for your flat pictures. That looks super annoying, but they're great for these purposes.

 

Everyone else: I went on the lookout for glass yesterday at the places cited, but even the Finkle Factory was a bust (although there was a knife in the bike lane?). So, keep the updates coming...and I'll keep looking.

 

 

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