Bike theft has become a huge problem nationwide. The International Journal of Sustainable Transportation reports that approximately 50 percent of all active cyclists have their bikes stolen. Sadly, only 2.4 percent of those bicycles are ever recovered. Worse still, bicycle theft rates continue to increase each year. Sadly, only about 35 percent of cyclists even take the time to report their bikes have been stolen. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent bicycle theft – and most of them are pretty inexpensive.
If you have invested hundreds or even thousands of dollars invested in your bike, you don’t want to risk having it stolen. Here are some tips to follow to help protect your bike from thieves.
Tips to Prevent Bike Theft
1. Park your bike in a well-lit area. It goes without saying, brightly lit areas are safer. Thieves are less likely to try to steal your bike if they can be seen. Although this is common knowledge, I’m amazed by all the bikes I see in dark, isolated places. You can’t always choose where to keep your bike, but opt for areas near street lights, whenever possible.
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2. Choose a good, solid lock to deter thieves. No lock is going to prevent all bike theft, but a heavy-duty chain lock or a U-lock will make them think again. The U-lock has been the traditional lock of choice for many years, but newer locks like the Hexlok, Foldylock, or LINKA offer high-tech ways to keep your bike safe. The best bicycle locks don’t need to be expensive to be effective, though. You can find a good, solid U-lock for around 20 dollars, and police departments at colleges and universities sometimes give them out for free.
3. Combination or key, which is for me? If you are prone to losing your keys or don’t like to carry them around with you, stick with a combination lock. If you forget combinations or won’t use the lock regularly and there is a chance it might slip your mind, stick with the key locks. Do not feel like you have to spend an arm and a leg, either. Some of the best quality locks are relatively inexpensive.
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4. Lock your bike frame and wheels to a secure object. Find an immovable object like a light pole, sign post, or bike parking rack. Be sure to check the laws in your jurisdiction to determine where you can secure your bike, as some areas prohibit using signs, meters, and trees. Lock both the wheels and the frame, if possible. If you lock only the wheel, crafty thieves might remove the wheel and steal the rest of your bike. If you secure just the frame, they might run off with your pricey wheels. Take no chances with bike theft, and secure as much of your bike as possible.
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5. Make note of your serial number and take a photo of your bike. If your bike is stolen, these can help police find your bike and get it back to you. Consider registering your bike at Bike Registry. Often, police will search registries for the serial numbers of bikes that are recovered. A few minutes time now might mean that you recover your stolen bike later.
6. Steer clear of crowded racks. If a bike rack is jam packed with bikes, it can mean scratches and damages to your bike. It can also provide cover for a thief as it’s less risky to steal from a group of bikes than a solitary bike.
7. Don’t park in the same place every time. Criminals love when you follow a routine and if bike security isn’t at the forefront of your mind, you may become a victim. It makes it easy for them to determine when it is best to steal your bike. If, for example, you always park your bike at the same place during the day and do not come back until evening, an observant thief will know he is safe to steal your bike while are you at work. Instead, change your schedule up regularly. Have a few places that you leave your bike and alternate them randomly.
8. Consider an anti-theft bike security alarm. These alarms emit a loud, ear-piercing noise when sensors are tripped. Some even send a notification to your smartphone. Some of these locks include built-in GPS notification that will help you (and police) track your bike if it is stolen. Cheap? No. But if it helps you recover your expensive bike, an alarm is priceless!
9. Park a few feet away from the curb. This will help keep your bike safe from scrapes that can occur when buses, drivers, and street cleaners edge too close to the side of the road.
At Kass & Moses, our team of experienced bicycle crash attorneys are also cyclists. We provide this blog to share cycling, cycling safety, and cycling crash information with the public. If you have been involved in a bicycle crash and have been injured, contact us anytime. We are always available for a free consultation and we work diligently to help our clients recover financially after their bicycle crash.