Individuals can reduce the chances of their bicycles being stolen if they use a good lock and locking techniques and take precautionary measures to assist in the recovery of a stolen bicycle, such as registering their bicycle with the Toronto Police.

It is advisable to keep the following information about your bicycle on your person:

  • Several photos from various angles 
  • The original sales receipt (if possible)
  • A detailed description, including the following:  
    • Make/model
    • Size/colour
    • Date/place of purchase
    • Value
    • Distinctive features
  • Before cycling to work, school or a transit location for the first time, visit the area and research the nearby bicycle parking amenities first. 
  •  A list of bicycle parking locations are available on the City of Toronto’s Open Data portal.
  • Never leave accessories, like lights and bags, unattended with your bicycle.
  • If you do not feel comfortable parking your bicycle in public, consider using Bike Share Toronto for short-term rentals.
  • Use a quality lock (a hardened steel U-lock or steel chain and padlock). U-locks provide a greater deterrence to theft when compared with cable locks.
  • Consider using two different types of locks (ex. U-lock for the front wheel and frame and a heavy duty cable lock for the rear wheel and frame), as thieves are less likely to carry two kinds of tools to break both locks.
A cyclist uses a U-lock to lock to a bike rack. These locks provide a higher level of security when compared to a cable lock alone.
Example of a U-lock attaching the bicycle frame to the rack.



A cyclists uses a U-lock to lock to a rack and a cable to secure both wheels.
Example of U-lock secured to the frame and a cable lock attached to the U-lock for the wheels.

Optimal bicycle racks (short-term use)

If parking your bicycle for a few hours during the daytime, always use a bike rack that is securely fastened to the ground or wall (sign poles, trees, fences are not as secure).

If possible, select a bicycle rack with at least two points of contact that allow the frame and wheels to both be locked together.

Visible racks in well-lit and well-travelled areas further deter bike theft.

bicycle locked up to a multi-bike rack. These racks provide space to secure the bike and lock the frame
This multi-bike rack provides two points of contact and allows the frame to be locked to the rack. This user is using a cable lock to further secure their wheels.


A bicycle is locked to a Toronto Post and Ring. The rack provides a convenient place to lock the frame and a wheel providing additional safety
Toronto post and rings provide a convenient and space efficient place to lock your bicycle. The bicycle can rest against the rack and it provides space to easily lock the frame.

Racks to avoid

A bicycle parking rack that only allows locking to the wheel and not the frame
This rack, also called a wheel bender, provides space to easily lock the wheel to the rack only. Wheels can be removed making the bike less secure than if the frame was the point being locked. Without a point of contact for the frame the bicycle is also less secure in the rack, which could cause the wheel to warp or bend over time.


A bicycle rack that only provides space for locking the wheel and not the frame. The 4 bikes in this photo are using the exterior of each rack to lock their frames.
Similar to the wheel bender rack, this rack also provides space to easily lock the wheel only. As seen in this photo the majority of the bikes locked to this rack are using the end points of the rack to lock their bicycle frames to the rack. This shows an unintended use of the rack and the preference of cyclists to lock their bicycles more securely.

Optimal bicycle parking locations (long-term use)

When possible, do not park your bike on the sidewalk or street overnight. If you must park your bicycle for a longer period of time or overnight, it is best practice to use a more secure facility, such as individual bike lockers or indoor bike rooms. If you live in a multi-residential building, confirm with your property management company if these amenities exist, or apply for a City of Toronto Bike Locker or Bicycle Station membership.

  1. Capture the date and time of the theft, and photos of the location.
  2. Ensure that the bicycle was not removed by the property owner or manager, if it was parked on private property.
  3. If the bicycle was temporarily abandoned on the street, it may have been collected by the City. Learn how to report or retrieve a bicycle that was abandoned on city property.
  4. Report a missing bicycle to the police by phone or online.
  5. Inform your insurance company (if applicable).
  6. Check eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist or other online classified advertising websites for recent postings. If you believe you have located your bicycle on an external website, always alert the police rather than contacting the seller directly.
  7. Increase awareness online and in your community:
    • If your bicycle is unique to a certain type of cycling, you can try listing it on community websites and forums.
    • Use social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to increase overall awareness.
    • Inform your local bike shops by providing the details and a photo of your bicycle.