Top tips for keeping your bike safe from thieves

It's estimated that 50 per cent of Montreal cyclists have had a bike stolen at one point or another, but police say only one in 10 thefts is actually reported. Here are some tips to make sure your bike stays safe.

Only 2 per cent of recovered stolen bikes reunited with their owners

Taking a photo of your bike and its serial number is one way you might be able to get it back should police happen to recover it. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

Bikes are coming out of storage for spring and the possibility of bike theft is increasing along with the temperature.

Vélo Québec spokesperson Stéphanie Couillard said interest in buying a bike spikes around this time of year, so owners should be extra vigilant to make sure their bike isn't targeted by thieves looking to steal and sell it.

She said bikes costing less than $500 are most likely to be stolen, because they can be resold quickly.

Couillard said locking the bike properly and the quality of the lock are very important.

"We see fancy bikes locked with thin chains," Couillard said. "Some locks are not very expensive, but very resistant."

She said cyclists should expect to pay $50 to $60 on a good lock and recommends avoiding locks made of cables because they are thin and can easily be cut.

Other tips to prevent theft:

  • Invest in a sturdy U-lock, or two.
  • Secure wheel and frame to a sturdy rack or post.
  • If bike has quick-release wheels, install a clamp to lock them in.
  • Park bike in a trafficked, well-lit area.
  • Avoid locking bike in same location several days in a row.
  • Keep details on brand, model, style, year manufactured and anything that can help identify it if it is stolen.
Cyclist with quick-release wheels need to be mindful of how they lock up. (Brett Purdy/Radio-Canada)

Getting the bike back?

In order to help sad cyclists get their bike back, police recommended having a photo of the bike and its serial number.

Vélo Quebec also recommends engraving an identifying number, like driver's licence number or health insurance number, on the frame of the bike.

It's estimated that 50 per cent of Montreal cyclists have had a bike stolen, but police say only one in 10 thefts is actually reported.

In an average year, that translates to around 2,000 reported bike thefts — but there could actually be as many as 20,000 bikes stolen every year in Montreal.

Only two per cent of recovered bikes are returned, according to police.  

With files from Radio-Canada's Alexandre Touchette