Living in BC where so many of us are passionate about the outdoors and staying active, bicycles are everywhere. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities for bike thieves. Many owners don’t take the necessary precautions to prevent their bikes from being stolen, and aren’t aware of how best to improve their chances for recovering a lost bike.
Although extremely common, bike theft is one of the most underreported crimes. Owners don’t believe they’ll ever see their stolen bikes again, so the thieves get away and although thousands of bicycles are recovered each year by police, most are auctioned off as authorities are unable to determine ownership.
Here are some important measures you should take:
- Use a U-lock and lock it through both the frame and a wheel. Add a cable or second U-lock to secure the other wheel. By using two locks, you make your bike significantly more difficult and time-consuming to steal. Never use a cable lock on its own as it is extremely easy to snip off with wire cutters.
- Lock your bike to an immovable object and ensure your bike cannot be lifted over it. Don’t lock your bike to any objects or structures that can be cut (trees, fences, etc.)
- Consider taking all removable items with you. You can expect that if it’s detachable, somebody will take it.
- If you ever come back to find that your bike is damaged and cannot be ridden, take it with you anyway. It’s possible that a would-be thief is hoping you will leave the bike for longer so they can come back to finish the job.
- Always lock up your bike. It goes without saying that you should never leave your bike unlocked while out in public. However, even secured areas such as garages, underground parking lots and storage facilities are targets for thieves and break-ins. Whenever possible, it’s best to keep your bike inside your home.
To boost your chance of recovering your bike if it is stolen:
- Register your bike with Project 529 Garage, a free online database and service that allows you to report your bike stolen to a community of other users, law enforcement agencies, universities, bike clubs and shops. The app is active in communities throughout BC. Since its launch in Vancouver, there are over 20,000 people registered in the city and bike theft has fallen by 30 per cent.
- If your bike is stolen, you should also, of course, file a police report, watch for it on Craigslist and resale sites, and alert your network through social media to keep a look out.
- Record the serial number, keep your receipt, and take photos of you and the bike so you can prove ownership should it be found.
Finally, despite your best efforts, thieves may still find a way, or your bike may be damaged from an attempted theft. To protect the value of your bike, contact your Personal Insurance Advisor to check what coverage you may have under your home or tenant insurance policy.