Discovering that your bicycle has been stolen hits you with an instant sinking feeling. Who would take your bicycle? Can you get it back? Could you have prevented it from getting stolen? At the Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee, our work to make the city and county more bike friendly includes finding ways to reduce bike theft. We are working with the City of Peterborough, B!KE and GreenUP on initiatives to prevent bikes from getting stolen and recover bikes that do go missing. Here are some things you can do.
Register Your Bike with Project 529
Project 529 is an online bicycle registration system operating throughout North America. When you register your bicycles on the site, be sure to include lots of detail, including the serial number and photos of each bicycle you register. This makes it significantly more likely that a recovered bicycle will be returned to you.
“Founded in 2013, Project 529’s strategy is to galvanize riders, shops, police, schools, and cities around the globe with a common set of tools that allow communities to deter bike theft and recover stolen bicycles. Project 529 describes itself as a purpose-, not profit-driven company, motivated to make a meaningful dent in this (stolen bicycle) epidemic and to keep you riding.” (Project 529 website) We have seen how other cities have been successful using the Project 529 system to lower rates of bike theft and get more bicycles returned to their rightful owners, so we are promoting its use here in Peterborough. For example, CBC news reports that in Vancouver, where Project 529 is strongly promoted, bike thefts went down 40 per cent from 2015 to 2021.
Get the Registration Sticker
Project 529 has tamper-proof registration stickers, each with a unique code. You can get these at GreenUP and B!KE for no charge. Apply the sticker to the frame of your bicycle and add the sticker code to your on-line bike registration. This sticker tells would-be thieves that your bike is registered with Project 529 and that a whole community of people, including the police, is watching out for it. The Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee wants more people put 529 stickers on their bicycles to deter bike thieves.
Lock Your Bike, Always
Always lock your bike, even if you are leaving it for just five minutes. In locked sheds or garages, be sure to still lock your bikes, for an added layer of protection. Avoid parking your bicycle outside overnight. Even if your bike is locked incredibly well, nighttime gives thieves too much time and the cover of darkness to cut through your lock.
Invest in a Good Lock and Use it Well
All bike locks are not created equal. Buy the best one you can afford, preferably a good quality U lock or folding lock. Lock your bike through the frame and any quick release wheels to a solid object that cannot be moved or cut, ideally, a bicycle rack. Some people even use two locks if they are leaving their bicycle for a long period.
Ask for A Bike Rack
If you are shopping or visiting a place with bad bike parking, let the manager know you would appreciate a proper bicycle rack in a prominent location. Bicycle racks that are tucked away allow thieves too much privacy to cut locks. If you visit a location with a great bike rack, let the manager know that you appreciate it. A bike rack in a covered location is especially desirable!
Be a Bike Friendly Business
The City of Peterborough has a helpful guide for anyone looking to buy a bike rack. City Welding is a local manufacturer of excellent quality bike racks offered at competitive prices.
Recover your Stolen Bike
If the sad day comes that your bicycle is stolen, know that you do have some chance of recovering it. Call Peterborough Community Police and report your bike stolen. If you registered with Project 529, go to your profile and list your bike as stolen. Use the tools provided by Project 529 to get more eyes on the street looking for your bicycle. Every person with a bicycle registered to Project 529 in your area can be sent a notice and asked to look out for your stolen bike. Keep an eye on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace where stolen bikes are often resold, as well as local pawn shops.
Don’t be part of the problem
When buying a used bicycle, check if it is a stolen bicycle before you purchase it. Does the seller have the purchase receipt? Is the bike listed as stolen by Project 529?
Let’s work together to #endbiketheft!