With the summer season fully upon us (and isn't it lovely) the bike riders of Seattle are out in full force. While some people ride their bikes year round to and from work, a good number of us tool around on two wheels when we're less likely to be rain-soaked and cold. I know that when I haven't ridden for quite some time, I forget the small things, like how to properly lock my bike. I thought a few reminders on theft prevention might be helpful.
Tips for Keeping Your Bike Safe:
- Always use a bike lock. Avoid the ones that are just cable, as they can be easily cut. Look for the U-locks, and use that to secure your frame to the bike rack. You can use the cable locks to secure your wheels, if you'd like.
- Make sure the object you're locking your bike to is securely in the ground. Some bike thefts have been reported because the post or pole wasn't securely in the ground. Also choose to lock your bike to an object that has a "closed loop" so that there is no way to lift your bike away from the rack without needing to remove the lock.
- Back wheels are often more expensive than the front wheels because of the gears and framing...if you're going to lock one wheel, it should be your back one.
- Some bike seats are costly, and often bike shops will have a special cable that can keep your seat connected to your bike. If you splurged on a seat, you may want to consider this extra measure.
- Jot down the serial number and take photos of your bike. This way you will be able to identify your bike in the event that it is stolen.
- Try to lock your bike up in a popular place - in front of the coffee shop instead of around the corner, for instance. The more eyes on your bike, the better.
Sometimes even the best locks and measures can't keep your bike in your possession. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has a few tips for what to do in the event your bike has been stolen:
- Find your notes on the serial number and photos.
- File a police report, noting the serial number and other identifying information.
- Some homeowners policies include coverage for bikes - call us to see if yours does. If so, you may want to consider filing a claim
- Keep an eye on Craigslist, and at flea markets, for your bike. Some bikes have been known to turn up in these places. If you think your bike is being listed or for sale, call your local police station - don't confront the seller on your own.
The most important thing to remember when biking, other than wearing a helmet, is to use common sense. Park your bike in well-lit areas, make it difficult to remove the locks, and obey the traffic laws. If you have any questions about your homeowners or renters policy covering your bike, just give our office a call.