Preventing Bike Theft
Beyond just locking your bike up wherever you go, here are some further practices that will decrease the chance of your bike getting stolen:
The safest place for your bike is always by your side or indoors within sight.
Always lock your bike, no matter how long you think you’re going to be looking away. Grabbing a soda at a gas station for just five minutes? Lock it. Always.
Make sure you’re always locking your bike to something solid and immovable. Obviously, bike racks are ideal. Watch out if you’re locking your bike to a post or sign; thieves may try to pull it up or lift the bike over the top. Small trees can also be cut.
Leave your bike in a well-lit and highly trafficked area.
When leaving your bike overnight, do your best to try to bring it indoors rather than leaving it out on the bike rack (yes, even if you live up three flights of stairs).
If your bike is very expensive (one you use for sport, competition, or long-distance rides), consider buying a cheaper bike to use for day-to-day commuting.
Write down your bike’s serial number. This is the only way to truly identify your bike if it is ever lost. Check if your local police or bike shops have a way to register your bike online to your name and driver’s license. Then, if they ever find someone with the bike (or someone tries to sell the bike) they will know it was stolen from you immediately.
If Your Bike Gets Stolen...
This is the dreaded worst case scenario. You’re rushing to your ride, and there’s nothing there. Many of us know that heart-sinking feeling all too well.
Report the theft to the police immediately and give them the serial number of your bike. If you don’t take this step, there’s no way for them to know it’s your bike even if they do find someone with stolen bikes.
Check your local pawn shops to see if any bikes have been dropped off recently.
Look on online listing sites where the thief may have posted your bike in an attempt to sell it.
Breathe. Unfortunately bike theft is far too common. It’s not fair, and it’s not your fault. You’ll get through this.