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!



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That's a great suggestion. I'll check that spot out tomorrow for sure. Thanks!
I was going to nominate the same location.  I had a rear puncture this morning due to a glass shard after traveling that stretch.

Should have been with me Friday at Lolla as I pulled a chunk out of my tire and watched it go flat. Thanks to my friends who had a kit handier and the stranger who had a pump that worked.


Humboldt Park (the actual park) and the surrounding areas seem to have an abundance of broken glass.

I have never not see broken glass.  It's EVERYWHERE.  Broken glass makes my skin crawl when I notice it in the road.  The other day when I was riding down Kedzie between Palmer and Armitage and someone from a car threw a glass bottle out of their window and let in smash in the street.  Why do people throw their glass in the damn street all the time?  I've luckily gotten only one flat in the past 12 months of riding from a shard of glass thanks to my gatorskins. however, i often have to pick out the glass that gets stuck in them.

I used to get a flat a week due to broken glass on North Lincoln Avenue riding south towards Wells Street. There are a lot of bars and party spots along that route and plenty of inconsiderate drunks smashing bottles in the street. When I finally put on some Bontrager hardcase tires, all was well for about a month- then a nice 1 1/2" shard pierced its way through one of them as well.  I also learned that I  have to pick all the glass out of the tires when I get home so that I don't accidentally drive the shards deeper into the tire- no matter how tough the tire is, they still pick up some glass.  Right now, I am using Armadillo tires, and each trip I have to pick the bits of glass out of the tread. 


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 just caught a flat this morning on Clark just south of Chicago. This was not the first time I've caught a flat there either. I know I should take Wells since it has a bike lane but Clark is closer to my job and I don't have other commuters trying to race me.


At least I'll have something to do during lunch today.

Not exactly Chicago related, but I was riding out to Oak Brook from Roscoe Village via the Prairie Path trail (my FIRST time doing the bike commute) and some punks in Maywood covered the path for about 4 feet with broken glass.  Must have been about 20-30 broken bottles, clearly done on purpose.  Needless to say I did not make it out unscathed.  Tube change took 20 minutes as that was also my first time (thank god for youtube).  Broken glass sucks.

agree with the finkl foundry location. if you're looking for something close to the loop, you could maybe try the lakefront trail around the museum campus, from the shedd aquarium to 12th street beach. lots of glass on the path when i lived in the vicinity a few years ago. i guess folks hang out on the concrete "bleachers" next to the lake in the evenings and just toss bottles, etc. onto the bike & pedestrian path. it does get cleaned up, though.


glass in general seems to be a big problem in our city, not just for cyclists but for pedestrians and pets as well. there are entire areas that i can't walk my dog out of fear that she'll step on shards of glass. my neighbors also don't like their kids playing at the park on our street because of all the broken glass, garbage, etc.


i've lived and cycled all around the country, and don't seem to recall broken glass being that much of a problem anywhere else.

I think it would be more of a marker if you could find a street in Chicago without glass on it somewhere.

Wow. Thanks for the comments so far. I'll definitely be checking out the Cortland bridge today, and hopefully Clark and Lincoln as well.


Does anyone have stories like Carly's of seeing people make the broken glass mess? And, like PeeWee said, are there any other problems that people have outside of biking? Pets? Kids?

Is there anything that you do about broken glass when you see it in the street? Do you warn any riders behind you to avoid it?

I haven't had many problems riding but the alleys by me are always full of broken glass near Halsted & Clark. My dog has gotten cuts on his pads probably about 10 times in the past 5 years. This is even though I am careful to go around any broken glass I see, he'll get cut either in the alley or even on the sidewalk along Wellington walking towards the lake. Right now there is glass in the alley off Oakton.

Usually it turns up on weekends, or any time I hear partying outside at night, the next day I'm sure to see broken glass. This is even though those people live there, they smash glass in the alley. Maybe it's their guests. I don't know.

I want to beat them. Damn kids. See now I'm an old man I'm not even 40 and I hate everyone under 30. grrr!

I ride August every day to work. There is never a shortage of broken glass there.



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