The best way to protect your bike is to lock it. Unfortunately, there is no best way to avoid a missing bike scenario.
But that should not stop you from knowing what to do if your bike is stolen.
First things first, you have to at least alert local authorities, and your neighbors, and even scour the internet within 24 hours to gather whatever information you can find.
We’ll cover how to prevent getting robbed and how to react if you’ve already been victimized by a bike thief.
Table of Contents
- Steps to Take if Your Bike is Stolen
- How to Prevent Stolen Bikes?
Steps to Take if Your Bike is Stolen
There are all sorts of villains, and some seem to prefer bicycles to cars. You don’t want to be that person to say, “Oh no, someone stole my bike!”.
If you’re the victim of a bike theft, it’s important to find a stolen bike as quickly and efficiently as possible. This can be tricky, but you need to know what to do and do it quickly.
Step 1: Alert The Police
Police stolen bike cases are very common since approximately two million bicycles are stolen annually.
Reporting a stolen bike to police is one of the initial steps you must do immediately. Even if you are in a state of shock due to the occurrence, you have to stay calm and provide all the details that can help identify and locate your bicycle, including:
- Event details of theft, such as the date, time, and place.
- Photo reference of your bicycle
- Bicycle frame number, brand, features, and other noticeable details.
Once a police report is filed, they will sweep various bike shops in town looking for serial numbers of stolen bikes. If they find your bike, you will receive a notification from police as soon as possible.
Step 2: Report A Stolen Bike Online
Some online bike recovery websites have a stolen bike registry database where owners can enter their names and information about their stolen bikes in order to inform law enforcers that can help in their stolen bike search.
Some of the most trusted websites where you can check if bike is stolen are as follow:
- Project529 (US) – 529 Garage
- Bike Index (US and International) – Sign up – Bike Index
- Bike Sheperd (US and International) – Stolen Bike Alert – Bike Shepherd
- Bike Register (UK) via Report a stolen bike | BikeRegister
Step 3: Check with local bike shops and pawn shops
You can also alert the local bike shops and pawn shops in the area. They are smart and should have an idea about stolen bikes and may also have some leads on where they might be.
If possible, check any local bike shops and pawn shops for signs that your bike has been sold recently—or even just pawned—and take photos of any changes in price, condition, and feature to help identify your ride to serve as proof before turning it into the local police.
Step 4: Check with the local impound and fleamarket
Other places that you can check and ask around are the impound and the marketplace. If the police have already retrieved your bicycle, there is a high chance that they are keeping them safe in the police impound.
Else, the local marketplace can also be a go-through for thieves. They can sell the bike to make quick money and escape once sold.
Step 5: Surf The Internet
You should also check online sites like Craigslist and eBay, where bikes are often sold illegally, as well as Facebook Groups, where thieves often advertise stolen bikes for sale (and sometimes even sell them).
When searching online for stolen bikes, look for information about bikes that match yours in terms of make and model (make and model numbers are usually printed on the frame) and color (usually on the seat).
Craigslist stolen bikes are so common that even the Madison Police Department has ‘Craigslist’ as a keyword filter in their database to determine stolen bike cases.
Step 6: File An Insurance Claim
If your bike is stolen, the first thing you need to do is get in touch with your insurance provider — they’ll want to make sure that they are covered and ready for any stolen bike insurance claims.
Suppose an insurance company accepts your claim and pays out on it. In that case, this will help cover some of the financial burdens of repairing or replacing your bike. A bike stolen no insurance available is very disadvantageous if you use expensive bikes.
Step 7: Inform Your Friends, Family, And Community
It’s important that everyone involved knows about the case. Tell everyone you know that your bike was stolen so they can be on alert for suspicious activity in or around a bike rack near their home or business.
How to Prevent Stolen Bikes?
Thieves are in the business of making money and – if you don’t stop them – they will make a lot more money. In order to prevent such a bad thing from happening, you must set some countermeasures beforehand.
- Record the serial number of your bike as soon as possible.
- Take pictures of the bike as soon as possible so that if someone does steal it, they won’t be able to sell it without being caught.
- Don’t leave your bike unlocked in public or unattended. Lock it to a fixed object when in a safe public place like a park or street corner.
- Lock it with a cable lock on an immovable object such as a wall or fence. You can use U-locks, two bolts, and two combination locks for added security.
- If possible, remove parts that may be used to steal your bikes such as lights and reflectors, pedals, bike seats. and tires or rims.
What do thieves do with stolen bikes?
Thieves steal your bike because it’s easier than stealing a car. A bike can be broken into pieces, driven away, and sold in minutes. Furthermore, a vintage bike can be worth a fortune, and professional thieves have the tools to steal such bikes to sell high.
Can you track a stolen bike?
If you have cycling GPS on your bike, tracking via phone app is quite easy. Without the bike tracker, follow the above steps as soon as you notice that your bike is gone to track the bike.
What are the chances of recovering a stolen bike?
Getting a stolen bike back is doable if your bicycle can easily be tracked. In fact, according to 529 Garage, 48% of stolen bicycles are retrieved by police but since 1% of the population is only registered, only a measly 5% are actually returned to the rightful owner.
Once you lost your bicycle, you must check everywhere and register your stolen bike as soon as possible. Else, there is little to no chance to recover stolen bike.
Even if you are a newbie or veteran cyclist, you must know what to do if your bike is stolen and act as quickly as you can.
This article is here to help you get your lost bike back and hopefully prevent such bad occurrences from happening again.
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”