Tips for Avoiding Bike Theft
Bike theft is unfortunately a common occurrence here in Dublin, but there are a number of steps that you can take to avoid having your bike stolen. Please read through our anti-theft tips below and check out our Avoid the Thief video on Youtube.
1 - Record, Register and Insure Your Bike
Record the frame number of your bike. This is a unique serial number located on your bike’s frame and can be used to identify & reclaim the bike. Keep this number confidential.
Take a photo of your bike (which you can share publicly if the bike is stolen) and take a photo of yourself with your bike as proof that you have owned the bike.
Email the photos and the frame number to yourself with a subject line such as “In case of stolen bike” so you can easily find the information if your bike is stolen.
Consider using a third-party service to register your bike. There are a number of bike registry services, such as Bikeregister.ie.
Consider purchasing bicycle insurance. You can insure your bike against theft or damage. You may also be able to insure your bike through your home insurance, but this might only cover theft that occurs at your home. (You can get a 5% discount from bicycle insurance specialists Bikmo by following Dublin Cycling Campaign’s exclusive referral link.)
2 - Invest in Good Locks
A general rule-of-thumb is that you should spend approximately 10% of the value of your bike on locks.
Buy your locks from a reputable bike shop, and invest in trusted & highly-rated brands. (Thieves will quickly identify - and target - poor quality locks.)
We recommend a two-lock system: A combination of a U-Lock (also referred to as a D-Lock) and a coil lock. The U-Lock secures the bicycle frame to a fixed object, such as a bike stand, while the coil lock secures the wheels of the bike. (See image above for reference.)
No lock is invincible, but the aim is to make your bike as unattractive to thieves as possible. Remember that most bike thefts are opportunistic, so try not to give thieves the opportunity!
3 - Tips for locking your bike
Never leave an unattended bicycle unlocked - not even for a second! Even if it’s at home in your shed or you’re just popping into a shop for a minute, always lock your bike.
Try to lock your bike in a secure location with lots of people around and which is overlooked by CCTV, if possible. In Dublin city centre we recommend using the excellent bike parking facility in Park Rite Drury Street (pictured above), just around the corner from Fade Street. This facility is operated by Dublin City Council and was completely refurbished in early 2019. It even has a couple of dedicated cargo bike spaces.
It is always best to lock your bike to a ‘Sheffield’ type bike stand, where available. The smaller ‘wheel rack’ bike stands are less secure and should be avoided if it’s not possible to securely lock the bike’s frame.
Always secure the wheels as well as the frame. Thieves are opportunistic and will take wheels if they are readily available. Many bikes come with quick-release wheels, which are easily stolen. Your local bike shop can swap out the quick-release mechanism for a more secure part. (This also applies to quick-release saddles.)
Many bikes are stolen because of what they are locked to, not what they are locked with. Make sure whatever you lock your bike to can not be moved, lifted or easily broken.
Avoid locking your bike to poles/signposts if possible. The bike may cause an obstruction to passers-by and the bike can easily fall over, resulting in damage to your wheels.
4 - What to do if your bike is stolen
Report the theft immediately to your local Garda station. (Please do this. Only around 1 in 3 bike thefts are officially reported.)
Keep an eye on online second-hand sales marketplaces, as sometimes thieves will attempt to sell stolen bikes there.
Sometimes it can help to raise public awareness about the theft, either online via social media or by notifying your neighbours, friends and family. Here’s an example of a family who successfully recovered their stolen bike after launching a high-profile awareness campaign.
Every so often the Gardaí will publish details of stolen bikes they have recovered. Keep an eye out for these as your stolen bike might show up amongst them.
5 - Be Cyber-Secure
- Some bike thieves are quite sophisticated and organised. They may target people using mapping and exercise-tracking software, such as Strava, to identify where someone lives or works. If you use mapping software to record your cycles, please be conscious of your privacy settings and try to avoid publishing information which may help thieves to figure out where you live or work.
Please don’t support bike theft. Only purchase second-hand bikes from reputable dealers, or if you know that the bike is not stolen.
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