Using bikes for transportation is a great way to avoid increasing air pollution and the effects of rising gas prices, but bikes are an easy target for theft. For those less cautious about their bicycle security, here are ten surefire ways to get your bike stolen and gone forever.
1. Don’t Lock Up
First and foremost, when looking to get a bike off your hands, never lock it up. This doesn’t mean scooting it into a bike rack and hoping no one notices there isn’t a lock, but at home too. Leaving a garage door open, setting a bike on the porch or behind bushes in the backyard is one of the easiest ways to make a bicycle disappear, no matter its size or condition. This is especially true if you are leaving a bike unattended for “just a minute,” which is when most thefts occur.
2. If Locked, Using a Chain Not a U Lock
Chain and cable locks are the easiest for thieves to break through, much easier than steal U locks. Most bikes aren’t stolen based on their value, but the simplicity of the lock used to keep them safe. A cheap bike with a chain or cable is more likely to get stolen than the expensive bike with a U lock next to it.
3. Only Lock the Front Wheel
It is easy for thieves to detach the frame of a bike from the front wheel. To have a bike stolen, don’t try to attach the lock to the frame, wheel and sturdy pole. That would make it too difficult and deter thieves from your bicycle.
4. Lock-up to Poles and Signs
Poles like those on parking meters make it easy for thieves to lift the bike and lock up and off the pole. Similarly, street signs can be detached at the top and bikes can be lifted over the base of the sign. To get a bike stolen, do not use bike racks, especially the center which is more difficult for thieves to access.
5. Leave an Expensive Bike Overnight
Obviously, a nicer bike will be targeted by thieves, especially in urban areas. If you know you’ll be leaving your bike overnight, don’t have a beater bike to take for the day. Instead, leave the cheaper bike at home and opt for the expensive one to leave unattended overnight.
6. Don’t Record Information About Your Bike
Photographs and serial numbers are some key ways that police find stolen bikes. To lose a bike forever, don’t take a color photograph of the bike and write down the serial number, usually found near the rear wheel or underneath the bottom bracket where the pedals are attached. Not keeping a photo, the serial number, and receipts of bike purchase together in a safe place will assist in never finding your bike again.
7. Don’t Call 9-1-1
The police are trained to recover stolen items and due to their prominence around the city, they see more of the streets than the average person. Their vigilance is important when locating a stolen bicycle. If your bike is taken and you want it to stay that way, don’t contact the police by dialing 9-1-1 to report the theft. Also, don’t request to see the police department’s warehouse where they store confiscated bicycles.
8. Don’t Get Insurance
Some homeowners and renters insurance actually cover bicycles. To successfully have your bike stolen, don’t ask your insurance providers if bikes are something your policy already covers or could be added. U lock companies also have guarantee policies that work similarly to insurance, another reason not to buy them.
9. Leave Pricey Labels Exposed
If you own an expensive bike, scratching out or painting over company names or labels will deter thieves from targeting your bike. Try leaving the label exposed or just covering it with a sticker. Thieves have trained to look for those features when stealing bikes.
10. Give Up
Many bicycle recoveries have been initiated by the owner. Looking at second-hand bike shops, online and being vigilant in the neighborhood are ways that owners have been able to find their stolen bikes. If your bike is spotted at any of these locations, do not go to the police and ask them to recover it for you; that is a surefire way to get your bicycle back.
Not doing the things listed above will help you keep your bike safe and in the right hands. To keep a bike from getting stolen, it is important to know what not to do and develop proper safety habits.
What are some poor practices that you know can get a bike stolen?
Image taken from zoetnet .