Preventing and Reporting Bike Theft

We’ve had a few inquiries lately about bike theft prevention and how to go about reporting a lost or stolen bike. The following information and more can be found in the FAQ’s section of our website.

While bicycle theft numbers are down in Calgary, there were still over 3600 reported bike thefts in 2017. Here’s a nice simple list to follow to help prevent bike theft, as well as how to report a theft. For more details on locking your bike, see below.

  • Lock your bike properly by securing the wheels and the bike frame to something solid. Do this even if you are using secured bike parking.
  • Use multiple locks.
  • Take easily removable items with you (bells, seats, lights).
  • Don’t leave your bike locked in an easily accessible place for long periods of time, especially overnight.
  • Try to not be predictable such as parking/locking your bike to the same bike rack every day.
  • Make sure garages and sheds are locked.
  • Record the serial numbers of your bikes and take photos of your bikes. This will help the police to recover your bike. You can take the additional step of recording this information on Bike Index, which allows you to register your bike and mark your bike as lost or stolen. Bike Index then alerts their bike community to assist in finding your bike.
  • Report your bike as lost or stolen using the Calgary Police online form.
  • There is also a local Facebook group under Stolen Bikes Calgary and Surrounding Area. This is a group of volunteers working to help bike owners recover their stolen bikes.
  • If your bike was stolen before you could register or record your serial number, the bike shop you purchased your bike at will often have this information in their records.

How to Lock Your Bike

  • Buy a good lock – even a $100 bike is worth stealing if it’s easy to do so. A U-lock is a good place to start. Check out the site The Best Bike Lock for more info on all your lock options.
  • Do not use cable locks as your main lock – they are cut in seconds with cheap cable cutters.
  • Nice wheels are worth a lot – loop a high-quality u-lock through the frame and rear wheel. Secure the front wheel with an additional cable if the wheel has a quick release.
    • Bonus theft prevention points – take off your front wheel.
    • Extra bonus points – replace quick release skewers with a locking wheel skewer such as Pinheads. Seats, wheels and handlebars are regularly stolen off secured bikes.
  • Trust your local bike shop to help you select your hardware and show you how to use it.

Where to Lock Your Bike

  • Make sure your U-lock connects your bike frame to a stationary immovable object, even if you are in a secured parking area.
  • Give the immovable object your bike is attached to a shake to make sure the bike can’t easily be slipped over or under it.
  • Check out “Bike Parking” in our FAQ page to learn more about where to park your bike. Try not to lock your bike to trees, street signs or handrails – it’s not a great cyclist move.

9 Different People Tried to Steal a Bait Bike in Calgary Over Just 2 Days (external source, 2018)

2 thoughts on “Preventing and Reporting Bike Theft

  • sclim

    I wonder if the SkunkLock is a viable alternative. A strong U-lock that releases a noxious odour when cut into. They have just begun shipping after a delay in development in crowdfunding. Any opinions regarding potential illegality and general usefulness?

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