British Columbia

Bike theft: 5 tips to keep your bicycle safe

A Vancouver cycling advocacy group says by getting a good lock and locking it properly you can lower your chances of becoming a victim.

Vancouver cycling advocacy group says how you lock your bike can make all the difference

Vancouver police say 2,387 bikes were stolen in the city in 2014. They say many of them will never be returned to their owners because they do not have serial numbers. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

With more than 2,000 bikes stolen so far this year, a cycling advocacy group says cyclists need to do all they can to make sure they aren't an easy target. 

The issue was hilighted this week when a Taiwanese cyclist on a worldwide cycling trip had his bike nabbed near Oak and 16th. Vancouver police were able to find Jacky Chen's bike but that doesn't happen often, says Erin O'Melinn from HUB cycling.

"I have heard that the Vancouver Police are working on this, they know it's a problem. 

"But I have heard stories that the same bike thief has been arrested three times in three days for stealing bikes. When I see that, I know that the consequences are not meaningful enough to prevent people from doing this again," explained O'Melinn. 

​She says in addition to police being more involved, businesses can also help by installing more bike racks outside their shops. In the meantime, cyclists need to ensure their bike is as safe as possible, she said.

Bike Theft Prevention Tips

Here are Erin O'Melinn's tips on how to secure your bike:

  1. Use a good lock. 
    Do not use a cable lock, invest in a good hard metal u-lock. Size matters when it comes to locks, the smaller the u-lock, the harder it is to break. Double up your u-lock with a secondary lock. 
  2. Lock it properly
    Lock both the front wheel of your bike and the frame. Make sure it is actually locked, no user error.
  3. Lock it in a good spot
    Don't leave your bike overnight or where it's obvious you'll be gone for a long time. Whenever possible, take your bike inside with you. Don't lock it to trees. When locking to a pole or parking meter, make sure they are solid to the ground. Use bike racks whenever possible and park it in a busy area. 
  4. No quick releases 
    Replace the quick release bike seat with one that is bolted down. 
  5. Prepare for the worst
    Engrave your bike with your driver's license number, or take it to a local police station to get it done for free. Take a picture of you with your bike. Write down the serial number. If it is stolen, report it to the police. 

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled How to prevent your bike from being stolen with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.


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