Bike Theft Prevention
Cyclists can reduce the chances of their bikes being stolen if they use a good lock and locking techniques. Cyclists can also take precautionary measures to assist in the recovery of a stolen bicycle.
Tips to Keep Your Bike Safe
- Write down your serial number (usually on the underside of the bottom bracket) and register your bike with the Toronto Police. It’s also very helpful to have a picture of your bicycle and, if possible, the original sales receipt. Keep a detailed description of your bike on hand.
- Date/place of purchase
- Distinctive features
- If you’re thinking about cycling to work, school or a transit, try to research and visit the amenities first.
- Always use a U-lock. Never use only a cable lock. Ideally use both.
- Lock your wheels and frame together.
- Use a bike rack (sign poles, trees, fences are not as secure).
- When possible, do not park your bike on the sidewalk or street overnight.
- Lock your bike in a well-lit and well-traveled area.
- Take lights and other easily removed items with you.
Best Locks to Use
- U-locks provide a greater deterrence to theft when compared with cable locks.
- Utilizing two different locks provides an added level of security (ex. u-lock for the front wheel and frame and a heavy duty cable lock for the rear wheel and frame).
Best Places to Lock Your Bike
Best racks to use
- If possible, select a bike rack with at least two points of contact and allow the frame and wheels to both be locked.
- Ensure the bike rack is securely fastened to the ground or wall.
- Avoid wheel bender racks and other racks that make locking the frame to the rack impossible (in the fourth photo the 3 bikes using the rack have chosen the end of the rack to secure their frames).
- Visible racks in busy areas further deter bike theft.
Optimal bike racks
Racks to avoid
Best locations to use
If you are parking your bicycle for more than a couple hours or overnight it is best practice to use a more secure facility. The outdoor racks shown above are meant for short-term use. Secure long-term facilities can include individual bike lockers or indoor bike rooms. You can check with your building to see if these amenities are provided or apply for a City Bike Locker or Bicycle Station membership.
What to Do If Your Bike Is Stolen?
- Capture the date and time, and photos.
- If applicable, make sure it wasn’t locked to private property and removed by the property owner or manager, or if temporarily abandoned on the street, it may have been collected by the City.
- Report it to the police by phone or online.
- Inform your insurance company (if applicable).
- Check online:
- Ebay, Kijiji, craigslist
- If you think you found your bike do not attempt to contact the seller yourself, always alert the police.
- Spread the word:
- The more eyes looking out for your bike the better
- If your bike 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
- Provide them with the details of your bike, along with a picture, in case someone brings it into their shop for repair or to sell.