A Low-Risk Ride: Putting the Cuffs on Bicycle Theft

Stealing a bike is an easy crime. Parked and left out in the open, bicycles have few and mostly breakable defenses; hence it is quite easy to get away with lifting one. In reality, a seasoned thief would only need a few seconds to nick a bike off the street, especially if it is not attached to anything. It’s as good as one’s valuables left unattended for any crook to take. Bicycle thieves certainly make the most of this low-risk, high-reward crime, stealing and selling two-wheelers as a whole or having their parts stripped and sold separately.

What makes the problem even worse is the fact that bicycle theft is not a priority crime amongst police departments. Even though almost half the active cyclists today have had their bikes lifted at one time or another, police often fail to pursue suspects and recover their stolen property. As a result, bikers become more discouraged to report similar incidents. Thus, the rise in more theft.

bicycle theft

All Locked In

There are plenty of bike owners nowadays, so it is no wonder that bicycle theft is such a prevalent crime. Bike riders, however, need not worry because there are simple measures on how to prevent bicycle theft. For starters, the most important thing is a lock.

Whenever a bike is parked, it should always be secured with a lock. Not just any lock, though; it is best to use high-end U-lock devices. Fact is, the majority of stolen bicycles were either unlocked or had low-quality locking devices such as lightweight cables which can easily be cut using shears in a matter of seconds. For the best protection, use a high-quality U-lock that is keyed, and not with a combination. Even though this type of lock is more expensive, it is worth the cost if it means avoiding replacing a stolen bicycle.

Knowing how to lock a bicycle safely is equally essential. Merely locking the front wheel to the bike lock may result in having the rest of the bike stolen with only a single wheel left behind. As much as possible, lock all free parts of the bicycle and pay particular attention in securing the wheels and frame to the rack. There are a couple of ways to do so: either remove the front wheel and lock it with the rear wheel around the frame or use a U-lock on the frame and the rear wheel with a connecting cable or chain to the front wheel. Better yet, use two U-locks to secure both front and rear wheel. For added protection, make sure that the seat is also secured to the bike frame using a chain and/or a locking screw.

Use That Rack

It is best to use bicycle parking racks rather than attaching it to a tree or a fence. Bike racks are often located in places where there are a lot of people and where theft rarely occurs. If there is no bike rack around, find a pole or a parking meter that are secured firmly to the ground. However, do not lock the bicycle in a sidewalk or a railing where it will most likely be a blockage and could be a possible cause of accidents.

Another important rule is never to leave a bicycle locked up outside overnight. If unavoidable, chalk up a few cash and use lockers or rooms available near the location. This could also work for those using expensive bikes in daylight which are always heavily targeted by thieves. As much as possible, use a cheaper bike whenever parking outside.

Registration is Key

Because bikes are easy pickings for crooks, registering it as a preventive measure is crucial to locating it and ultimately getting it back. More importantly, registration is equivalent to proof of ownership. If the bicycle is recovered and the suspect is caught, the thief will be released if the bike is not registered.

Bicycle registration means having all identification details of the bike kept in a file. This can be done effortlessly online. The information necessary includes everything from the purchase receipts to its manufacturer, serial number, model, and color, to any other personalization that will distinguish it (e.g., markings, stickers). Another important detail that should be added to the file is a photograph of the bicycle.

Additionally, writing an emergency contact information inside the seat or within the handlebar will also help link back the bike to its owner. Being proactive is ultimately one’s best defense when it comes to a rapidly growing and seemingly undeterred crime such as bike theft. Knowing how to prevent bicycle theft, in other words, is best done with one’s hand gripping the handlebar.