British Columbia

529 Garage registry aims to help more Vancouver cyclists find stolen bikes

Vancouver police are partnering with U.S company Project 529 to launch a city-wide bike registry in an effort to reunite more owners with their stolen bikes.

Only about 5 per cent of recovered bikes are ever returned to the owner, say Vancouver police

Vancouver police show participants how to catalogue their bikes using a new registry system designed to prevent theft. (CBC News)

Vancouver police are partnering with Portland, Oregon-based company Project 529 to launch a city-wide bike registry in an effort to reunite more owners with the thousands of bicycles that are stolen each year.

"It all started when my bike got stolen. I put probably over a hundred hours into research to go track the thing down," said J Allard, the founder Project 529. 

"I realized there was a better way to do it."

Other bike registries do exist, but Allard said they aren't as effective in connecting owners with their stolen bikes. 

He said Project 529's registry, 529 Garage, can hold information on bikes from all over the world. It also keeps track of physical features of bikes as well as serial numbers. 

Each 529 shield sticker has a unique serial number and authorities hope this will deter thieves from stealing bikes that have one stuck on it. (CBC)

The company also offers stickers with a unique serial number that Allard said will deter thieves from stealing bikes. 

"It's a deterrent for thieves because it says, 'Thief, the community and the cops are going to know if this bike goes missing.'"

Back to the basics

According to police, 2,000 bikes are stolen each year in Vancouver alone, and only about 5 per cent of them are ever returned to their owner. 

They say part of the solution is better educating the public on how to prevent bike theft.

J Allard, founder of Project 529, and VPD Constable Rob Brunt speak at a news conference about the new partnership between their two organizations. (CBC)

"A lot of people have high-end bikes with a $10 lock, and they [only] lock their front tire," said Const. Rob Brunt with the VPD's Bike Unit. "No lock is going to save you if you haven't used it correctly to start with."

The Vancouver Police is aiming to register some 10,000 bikes using this new system in its first year. They are signing up bikes at registration centres in the city all this week:

Tuesday, October 27

7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 2120 Cambie Street

3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Union and Gore

Wednesday, October 28

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Heather and West 10th Avenue

Thursday, October 29

3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Stadium SkyTrain Station at Dunsmuir and Beatty Street

Friday, October 30

3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Science World

For the full interview click on the link labelled: 529 Garage registry aims to reunite more cyclists with their stolen bikes.