BikeLane.jpgAccording to the SF Examiner, bike theft is common in SF, with one reported every day. While there’s no absolute perfect way to keep your bike from being stolen, it never hurts to get a refresher on some bike-protection dos and don’ts.

According to the SFPD, over 100 bikes have been stolen so far this year. The biggest target areas? The Mission, with 30 reported thefts, and SOMA, with 19.

Surprisingly, most of the thefts did not occur from bikes left locked up on the street, but from bike riders’ own property via either a garage door or gate that was mistakenly left open.

However, this is just the top of the iceberg, as bike shop owners and bike riders say that most people do not bother to file a report with the city when their bike goes missing.

Some tips from our own Jackson West on safely securing your vehicle:

– find a lock that is hard for even an amateur bike thief to pry open (i.e. a small u-lock that doesn’t leave much room between the lock)

– anything that looks like it can be cut easily with bolt cutters is a bad idea

And some common sense guidelines:

– you should never leave your bike parked overnight in a public place

– choose well lit, high traffic areas to secure your bike. There’s no guarantee that if someone sees your bike getting stolen they will care, but bike thieves are looking for dark and secluded areas to snatch a bike

– if you have quick release parts on your bike, assume that they will be removed if you leave them on. If you have to, use a chain lock and thread it around the parts. You can even remove one wheel and place it next to the other

– Always pass your lock through the middle of your bike frame

If possible, you should:

– have insurance on your bike! When shopping for a good bike lock, look for companies that offer insurance. For example, you lock could cover up to $500 if it’s broken due to theft

– Homeowners or Renters insurance may also cover your bike if it gets stolen: even when you’re not at home. Make sure you do your homework and have the proper paperwork. Contact your company for the exact details.

– Register your bike with the city! It’s important to register the serial number of the bike. Visit the National Bike Registry and they will put your serial number in a database that the police can use to track down your bike and ultimately return it to you

If your bike does get stolen, it’s important to alert your community:

– File a report with the police department (remember, SFPD’s doing a high tech crackdown on bike thefts so every report helps)
– Post on Craigslist
– Let the other bike riders in your neighborhood know so they can be on the lookout.
– Visit the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and review their handy tips on theft prevention

And keep an eye out for this guy.

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