The Beginner’s Guide to Bicycle Theft 5

Crowded Bicycle Rack

“In most large cities, a bicycle is stolen every thirty seconds. In 1994, the FBI reported that bike theft was up 10 percent…”

– Bob Mionske, Bicycle Law Specialist

Bicycle theft is a major problem, and, if you ride very often, your bike will most likely be eyed by thieves at one time or other. Have you secured your bike or is it an easy target? If you bicycle is stolen, have you taken the necessary steps to establish ownership and verify worth?

Unfortunately, most casual bicyclists, and even some serious cyclists, forget to complete these crucial steps until it is too late and their bike has been stolen. At that point, insurance claims will be very difficult, and bicycle recovery will likely be impossible.

To avoid all this trouble and confusion, simply complete these three simple steps: document, register, and secure.

#1 Document

Without the proper documentation, you are very unlikely to ever see your bike again. Not only are you unlikely to recognize your bike, but, even if you do identify your cycle, you will be unable to prove ownership!

In addition, you will have trouble trying to prove your bicycle’s pecuniary worth if you decide to file an insurance claim for your stolen bike.

Thankfully, documentation is both fast and simple, so there is no need to risk being unable to establish possession or value.

To learn how to properly document your bicycle ownership read “Document Now Or Regret It Later”.

#2 Register

Besides building your personal documentation database, you should register your bike.

When you register you bicycle, the registrar will record your bicycle’s serial number and your personal information. In addition, you will most likely be issued a “license number” sticker that you can apply to your bike. Not only will this sticker potentially deter thieves, but it will also make it much easier for the police to recognize and return your stolen bike if found.

In addition to your local police station, you can register your bicycle with many other organizations and businesses such as lock companies, college campus police, and national bicycle registries.

For more information on where and how to register, read “The Cyclist’s Guide To Bike Registration”.

#3 Secure

Once you have documented ownership and registered your bicycle, you are almost done, but you still need to complete one more step – securing your bicycle!

After all, preparing for the worst is important – even crucial, but prevention should not be forgotten.

To make your bicycle difficult for thieves to steal, you need to use strong locks, employ proper locking methods, and choose your “hitching post” carefully. Although these techniques can never make your bicycle impossible for a determined thief to steal, they will encourage him to find an easier victim.

Read “Is Your Bicycle An Easy Target” to learn how to secure your bicycle better.

Don’t Wait…

Start preparing for bicycle theft today. You will be richly rewarded with peace of mind, and, if you bicycle ever is stolen, a much higher likelihood of successful recovery!

Image Credit: Flickr

5 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Bicycle Theft

  1. Reply Stefan | Apr 8,2011 12:12 PM

    Hey Nate!

    Nice article :) I live in the Netherlands, the bicycle country (the picture is actually from a Dutch train station) and as a Lifehacker I once wrote a (dutch) article about how to prevent your bicycle from being stolen! Haha!

  2. Reply Nate Desmond Apr 19,2011 6:39 AM

    @Stefan – That is great! I love the way people in the Netherlands bicycle so much!

  3. Reply Gregg May 21,2011 11:21 AM

    You didn’t tell the readers where the serial number is located on a bicycle.
    Most of the clerks at the PD will not either. Turn the bike over and it is on the bottom of the pedal crank cylinder.

  4. Reply Matt R Jul 1,2011 10:10 PM

    Good post, I live in a small college town where I am sure there are more bikes than there are cars. So I’ll keep this advice! *bookmarked*

  5. Reply Finding The Man Sep 19,2011 1:27 PM

    I lived in The Netherlands for several years and I heard one time that the average Dutch bike has been stolen 3 times. I believe it. You could have 3 locks on your bike and it would still get stolen, which is a major inconvenience because bikes are the number one form of transportation. Anyway, from my experience, all good advice.

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