Locking your bike

  • Always keep your bicycle locked, even in a garage or on a porch.
  • Lock at least one wheel (preferably two) and the frame to the rack or object. This also prevents your bicycle from falling over. If you only lock the wheel, your bicycle can be quickly detached and carried away.
  • If you don't need a quick release seat and wheels, replace them with standard bolts. If you do want quick release items, take them with you or lock them to your frame.
  • Take lights, mirrors, bags and panniers with you, along with anything else that is not securely fastened.
  • Consider riding an inexpensive (beater) bicycle for everyday use and short trips.

The lock

  • Invest in the best quality lock (or two) that you can afford-usually a hardened steel U-lock or hardened steel chain and padlock.
  • Use two different locks-one for each wheel-so that a thief would need two different types of tools.
  • Position a U-lock so that the keyhole faces down towards the ground. A keyhole that is located in the middle of the straight bar (instead of at the end) offers greater security.
  • When locking your bike, fill up the space of the U-lock with your bike frame and bike wheel so there is little room to jam a lock-breaking device into the lock.
  • Make sure chains cannot be smashed against the ground.
  • Register your lock with the lock company in order to get their anti-theft protection policy - if they have such a policy. Do this as soon as you've purchased the lock in order to able to collect insurance on a stolen bicycle

The location

  • Look for a busy, well-lit place to lock up.
  • Lock to sturdy, immovable objects that are securely bolted down.
  • Make sure your bicycle cannot be lifted over the object.
  • Avoid locking to materials that can be cut, like wire fencing, trees, and wooden railings.
  • Avoid "sucker" poles by checking to make sure that sign poles are securely fastened to the ground.
  • Out of courtesy, never lock to wheelchair ramps.

Stolen bicycles

  • Thieves will steal an entire bicycle, or they may steal items on your bicycle that are not securely fastened-but don't be deterred!
  • You can often avoid theft by taking a few extra precautions.

Take action

  • Register your bicycle with the online registration form. This will increase the chances of having your bicycle returned to you. You will need to know the serial number (it will be somewhere on the frame) and the make.
  • Keep a copy of your serial number, make, model, colour and frame size. You can't always trust that your registration with the police will be secure (registrations have been known to be misplaced) so keep a copy so you can prove to police later which bike is yours.
  • Always report a stolen bicycle or part-even if your bicycle wasn't registered. If there are numerous thefts in an area the police can take action.
  • Don't support the market for stolen bicycles. Only buy a secondhand bicycle from someone you trust. If you are not sure whether a bicycle has been stolen, ask questions or call the police.

Adapted from City of Toronto Cycling website and Sean Lerner.