Locking your bicycle:
Many bicycles are easily stolen because they are not locked. Your first line of defense is a good lock, properly used. Lightweight cable or chain locks are easily cut and offer little protection. Many bikes are stolen from home (yard, garage, college dorm rooms etc.). Store your bicycle in a secure place when not in use. If you are not sure your storage is secure, use your lock. Ask your neighbors and local bike shops about bicycle theft and safety in your area. If you know your bike is most vulnerable, you can better protect it. Register your bike in a national database. Professional bicycle thieves frequently sell stolen bikes in other cities because of the difficulty in tracing owners. The National Bike Registry (NBR) database is accessible to law enforcement throughout the country. No matter where a bike is stolen, or where it is recovered, the owner can be identified. The NBR Certificate of Registration can be used as proof of ownership if your bike is recovered, or for your insurance claim if it is not found.
Basic bicycle lock information:
U-Locks Vs. Cables. What is the correct choice? Although they are frequently used, the lightweight cable or chain locks no longer provides adequate security in most areas. In neighborhoods with a known bicycle theft problem the best choice is a strong, reliable U-lock. And remember, two locks are often better than one. Combine a cable and a U-lock, or even two U-locks, when securing your bicycle. The more time and trouble it takes a thief to attack your bike, the less likely it is your bicycle will become a theft statistic. Be sure to get a demo from a qualified professional on how the lock works and how to use it correctly. See U-lock photo below.
Design Features. Make sure the design of the lock provides functional security. Gimmicks may look cool, but will they really protect your bike from theft? Solid Steel is the strongest—the ideal is hardened against cutting, yet maintains flexibility, like Kryptonite's KryptoniumTM Steel, used in the Evolution series of U-locks. (New York LockTM, Evolution 2000TM, and Evo LiteTM).
Sizes. Do not buy a larger lock than you really need. Thieves will utilize the extra space between your lock and the bike to their advantage. A tight fitting lock will make it even more difficult for thieves to get their tools into position and to attempt a break.
How to lock your bicycle:
Always lock your bike, especially at home. Did you known, more bikes are stolen from home than any other location? Wherever you store your bicycle; a garage, a college dorm room, apartment building, etc., use your lock.
Pick a good location. Select a location where there are other bicycles. The chances are better that there will be a bike with a less secure lock—or even without a lock—and thieves will usually take the unlocked bikes first. Always lock your bicycle in a visible, well-lighted area. Lock your bike to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter, or a permanent bike rack that is cemented or anchored into the ground. If you use a parking meter, make sure the locked bike can not be slipped over the top of the pole. Beware of locking to items that can be easily cut, broken or otherwise removed. Try not to let your lock rest against the ground where a thief can use a hammer or rock to smash open the lock.
Use the lock correctly. Position your bicycle frame and wheels so you can take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock-up, the harder it will be for the thief to insert a pry bar and pry open your lock. If your U-lock has its keyway on the end of the crossbar, position the lock with its keyway end facing down towards the ground. This makes it harder for the thief to access your lock. Always secure your components and accessories, especially those that can be easily removed, like wheels or seats. If you own a multi-speed bike, leave it in the highest gear. This makes it that much harder for a thief to shirt quickly and get away with your bicycle.
Key Security Points
1) Don't ever leave a new bike unlocked. New bicycles have the most value to thieves and they look for them.
2) Don't lock your bicycle to small trees, aluminum or wooden posts, or to a chain-link fence. These items can be easily broken or cut.
3) Don't lock your bicycle to anything posted as illegal. Check with your police department for local bicycle parking regulations.
4) Don't lock your bicycle to itself. A thief will simply carry the entire bike away!
While many types of property theft have declined in recent years, bicycle theft is on the rise according to FBI statistics. The increasing popularity of bicycling as a sport and a means of transportation have made bicycles an easy target for thieves. It is estimated that over 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year. No where is bicycle theft a bigger problem than on college campuses—over half of the property crime in the University of California involves the theft of bicycles. Find out more about current legislation, laws regarding bicycle registration, and the growing problem of bicycle theft.
Additional bicycle safety information:
Always use a helmet
Learn, use, and obey traffic signals and stop signs
Ride with the traffic, not against it
If riding at night, use reflectors and lights. Be visible!
Always give pedestrians the right of way
Ride defensively. Watch for cars and car doors opening into your path
Don't weave in and out of slow-moving or stopped traffic
Slow down and look-out for on-coming and turning vehicles at all intersections
Keep your bike well maintained with regular check-ups and service visits
When you are not riding your bicycle, keep it properly locked—even at home