How to Prevent Bike Theft

My first experience with bike theft happened when I was 15 years old. I had left my bicycle outside of my friends house one morning, like I always did, before walking to school. (I’m not sure why I didn’t ride to school, but it must have been that walking was the “cooler” thing to do.) That afternoon when I returned, I was brokenhearted to find my bike was no where to be found. It had vanished from behind the bush where I had parked it that morning.

However, I learned a valuable lesson that day: Lock your bike, dummy! I realized that it didn’t matter if it was at a trusted-friends house in a decent neighborhood; an unlocked bike is just waiting to be stolen.

Years later, I realized that even locked bikes could be lifted. Locking bikes to an underground garage pole where few people visit makes it easy for someone with bolt cutters to cut the lock and bolt (pardon the pun!), especially in a shady neighborhood. The sad reality is bike theft is more common than car or motorcycle theft. Studies show that few people report their bikes as stolen with the idea that nothing can be done (myself included), and witnesses don’t bother to report thefts either (as seen in the video below by Bike Dock Solutions).

However, there are some tips to making sure your bike is where you left it at the end of the day:

  1. Lock your bike, no matter where you are or how “quick” you think you’ll be. According to the statistics from Bike Dock Solutions, people become more lax about locking their bikes when they’re at their home or somewhere they feel “safe.” (Hmm…. that sounds familiar!)
  2. Lock not only your frame or tire, but both. It makes it more difficult for a thief to quickly take a wheel off or dismantle your bike.
  3. Choose a decent lock, one that’s difficult to cut off with bolt cutters.
  4. Move your bike often. Don’t keep it parked in the same spot for days on end. (If you want to see what happens to an unattended bike, check out this video.)
  5. Lock your bike to a bike rack or immobile object. Bike racks are the best option, but not always available. Select something similar, like a sturdy pole.
  6. Report a theft. Whether it’s your bike or you witness a bike theft, report it!

The Bike Dock Solutions video is very disheartening but the reality is, I’m not so sure I’d confront a man with huge bolt cutters as shown in the video. Yet, I’d definitely report the crime. (Hello! Just look for a suspicious man carrying very large bolt cutters!)

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