Bicycle Security

Bicycles range in cost from the very inexpensive to the outrageously expensive. Most thefts of bicycles are crimes of opportunity. By taking just a few precautions you can significantly reduce your risk of being victimized.

Locks - Your First Line of Defense

  • Most stolen bicycles weren't locked, even if the owner had one available. Never leave the bike unlocked in public places and never leave the bike unlocked outside of your home at night. It only takes a few seconds to ride away on an unlocked bicycle.
  • The best lock available for bicycles is a U shaped lock designed specifically for this purpose. They are difficult to cut or break and have a low weight so they are more easily carried with the bicycle. Avoid cheaply made locks. In many cases you get what you pay for.
  • Steel cables or chains may be used to secure bicycles. They should be at least 7/16 inch in diameter and be labeled as having been 'hardened'. The cable or chain should be at least 6 feet in length so that the frame and front wheel can be secured. When using either a cable or chain the padlock used is very important. Make sure the padlock also has at least a 7/16 inch hardened steel shackle.
How & Where to Lock Your Bicycle
  • Park your bike where there is plenty of pedestrian traffic or where it is clearly visible.
  • Always attach the bicycle to something immovable such as a bike rack or light pole. Make sure the bicycle can't be removed by simply lifting the cable, chain, or lock over the top of your immovable object.
  • Position the lock as high off of the ground as possible. This takes away the leverage of anyone trying to use bolt cutters by bracing one handle against the ground.
  • Always try to both wheels as well as the frame. If you have quick release wheels remove the front wheel and lock it with the frame at minimum. Never lock you bike by the front or back wheel alone.
Other Protections
  • Make sure you record the serial number, make, model, color, style, and any distinctive markings or equipment of your bicycle at home. This information will be valuable in reporting your loss to the police. Many bicycles are recovered but go unclaimed every year because the stolen bicycle and found bicycles can't be matched.
  • Many police agencies have a bicycle licensing program to help identify found bicycles. Check with your local law enforcement.