Thwarting bike theft

Des Ryan, a board director with the Cabbagetown Residents’ Association, is a retired Toronto police officer. This article written by Des is part of an occasional Cabbagetowner feature on improving safety and security in our neighbourhood.

Perhaps inspired by the Toronto Bike Share program, you’ve decided to purchase your own bike. Or maybe you’ve always had a bike and want to keep it from getting stolen.

Here are some tips.

While you’re out-and-about, be sure to park your bike in a visible, well-lit, high-traffic area. Use secure parking facilities such as bike shelters or indoor bike parking facilities whenever possible. Avoid locking your bike to objects that can easily be cut, or locking it to someone else’s bike.

At home, consider the same things: is your bike locked in a place that is easily seem by everyone and is it secured to something solid? My neighbour locks his bike to a 12-foot ladder. Not many people want a bike and a ladder, not to mention the logistics of taking both items at one time.

Speaking of which, don’t cheap out on the lock. You spent a lot of time and (likely) money on the bike, so make sure you choose a strong lock and, if possible, even consider combining two different types of locks (i.e. the U-lock, the cable, and/or the chain lock). When locking up, don’t place lock(s) near the ground where bike bandits can crush it/them.

And, finally, register your bike with the police. It’s easy-peasy and might result in your stolen bike being returned to you as opposed to ending up on the Police Auction block several months down the road.

All you have to do is go to the on-line Bicycle Registry system and fill in the boxes, or, if you feel like a trip to any police division in Toronto, you can pick up and fill out a Bicycle Registration Form. And that’s it. Done.

Don’t forget to wear an approved bicycle safety helmet, use proper lights and reflectors, and be sure that your bike has a working bell or horn.

Happy pedalling!


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