Sunday, June 19, 2016

did your bike get stolen or is it at risk?

I was talking to a friend who said his bike was stolen from 91st St. Metra station while he was at work.  He confessed that he was only using a cable lock.  I often see this at Metra stations around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately bike theft is a growing problem, even in neighborhoods like ours that are perceived as safe.

It's worth taking a minute to report the theft to police. Even if your bike is not recovered, having data to identify patterns can sometimes result in identification and arrest of the thief down the line.

The Chicago Stolen Bike Registry is a valuable resource - and it's free.  It is maintained by a group of volunteers who are fellow cyclists and viewable by anyone.  Many people in the Chicago area check it, including folks accepting bikes for service at local bike shops.  Use of this database has resulted in the recovery of a number of stolen bikes in recent years.

Bike Index is a free national resource.  It's also worth using.  If you report the theft on all 3, it might take you 10-15 minutes.  It provides useful data. It could help in recovering your bike.

The best thing is to take a few precautions to prevent theft.

1. Cable locks really aren't secure. If that's your only lock, anyone with a bolt cutter can snip it in a few seconds and your bike is gone.

2. If only your frame is locked to the rack, your wheels are fair game. They might be gone when you get back.  Your best bet is to secure both wheels. At the very least, use a U-lock to lock the frame and one wheel and use a heavy cable to connect the other wheel with the lock. If you can take off your front wheel and lock it to the frame, rack and rear wheel, that's a good locking method.

On the closer bike, only the frame is locked to the rack, leaving both wheels
vulnerable. On the second bike, one wheel is secure.
Front wheel and frame are locked to the rack. Rear wheel is locked to the frame.
We have been fortunate that bike theft has not been a major problem in Beverly and Morgan Park, but it has significantly increased in recent years. Several people I know have had bikes stolen here in the last 2 years.

You can find more useful tips here, including a link to register your bike with the Chicago Police Dept.

No comments: