Have you or someone you’ve know ever had a bike stolen? If you love your bikes like we do, you know how heart breaking that can be.
Love Your Ride is a community-based bike theft prevention program in Santa Barbara County, coordinated by SBCAG Traffic Solutions with the help of SBBIKE and the Bike Index. The program aims to empower the cycling community to prevent bike theft and recover stolen bikes through educational materials, free and convenient bike registration (Bike Index), and social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Cyclists that love their rides not only keep them clean and functioning well, they also protect them against bike theft.
Here are the five ways to Love Your Ride:
- 1. Register your bike with Bike Index. Bike Index is a free online national bike registry with more than 70,000 registered bikes and 287 partners throughout the US. Be sure to provide a detailed description of your bike by including your serial number and photos that show unique characteristics of your bike. Go to www.SBBIKE.org/Bike_Index to register your bike.
- Lock it or lose it! Don’t be lazy, lock your bike. Use a high quality U-Lock and a cable lock to secure your frame and your wheels. Not all u-locks are created equal – avoid locks that cost less than $40. Be especially cautious in known bike theft hot spots such as State Street, the Santa Barbara central library, low visibility areas, and your back yard. Remember that high traffic areas can be just as susceptible to bike theft as a dark alley – there have been many reports of bike theft occurring in broad daylight with many onlookers present. Lock to a secured bike rack or at least something that can’t be moved or cut. Here is a simple guide to locking your bike (link to bike locking graphic).
- Report a stolen bike. If you have registered your bike at Bike Index be sure to list it as stolen. If you didn’t registered it on Bike Index it is not too late to register it there as a stolen bike. Including photos, fine details and the serial number of your bike are the keys to recovering it. File a police report – less than 1 out of every 4 bikes is ever reported stolen. Every year hundreds of bikes are found or confiscated by the police department but never returned to their rightful owners. If stolen in the City of Santa Barbara you can conveniently report a crime online at: http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/police/online/report_crime/. If stolen in Carpinteria, Goleta or the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County call 805-683-2724 (24 hour crime reporting line). Report the crime as soon as you can, provide as many details as possible and include a link to your Bike Index registration.
- 4. Recover your bike. Over 2,927 bikes have been recovered through Bike Index. Once you post the stolen bike on Bike Index it will be tweeted at @StolenBikeSBC and posted on Facebook at StolenBikeSBC. Be sure to share these social media channels with your friends. Keep in mind that most thieves are looking for cash, not a new bike, so keep your eyes on Craigslist for used bikes for sale within the tri-county area to see if your bike is posted for sale. This can be easily done by using a Craigslist Auto-search tool, such as CraigsAlert or by setting up an RSS feed on Craigslist. It also can’t hurt to contact the local pawn shops to alert them of your stolen bike.
- 5. Replace your ride! In the unfortunate event that you do not recover your stolen bike, know that the sooner you get on a bike, the better you’ll feel. If a brand new ride is not in your budget, buy a used one at Bici Centro or on Craigslist. But beware of a deal that’s too good to be true – it’s probably a stolen bike!
It takes a village – follow us @StolenBikeSBC: Only 2-3% of the six hundred or so reported stolen bikes in Santa Barbara County are recovered each year. The chance for recovery is even lower for the thousands of other stolen bikes that go unreported each year. Don’t just stand by and expect your law enforcement agencies to recover your stolen bike – it takes a village. Whether it be bike shops, pawn shops, Craigslist shoppers or just members of our community, we can all do our part to help prevent bike theft. You can start by to receiving posts about stolen bikes in the area by following us @StolenBikeSBC on Twitter and Facebook.