Bike theft is a growing issue in Cape Town, one that can be prevented by being prepared. Always lock your bike even at home or in your garage and when transporting it – it is amazing how many bikes get stolen from seemingly “secure” locations. Follow our guide to proper locking techniques and find out what to do if your bike is stolen.
Proper locking is the first defense against bike theft. Here are our top tips for bike effective locking:
1. Always use a hardened-steel U-Lock as your primary lock. U-locks can be carried in backpacks or panniers. Some locks can be mounted to your bike frame. The smaller the U-lock the better, it’s lighter to carry and the small size makes it hard to pry open with a crowbar. Avoid only using cable locks (even high quality ones) and cheap U-Locks as they can be easily cut. You should also avoid locks with a combination.
2. Choose a secure location. It is best to lock your bike in a highly visible area close to pedestrian traffic and streetlights. Look for designated bike racks or indoor parking areas. Don’t lock your bike in the same location all the time and never leave it locked outside overnight. When leaving your bike for an extended period of time, either choose a location that is busy e.g. outside a cafe where it appears you’ll be returning any minute or secure your bike inside your place of work – out of sight from potential thieves.
3. Safety in numbers – When possible secure your bike amongst others. There is sure to be an easier target for the thieves close by and it’s harder for them to work their tools.
4. Lock your bike onto something that’s immovable and strong. If you lock your bike to a street pole or sign post, make sure that you aren’t blocking pedestrian movement and that your bike can’t be lifted over it and that the whole thing itself can’t be stolen or taken apart. Keep your bike safe from cars by positioning it parallel to the edge of the pavement, but away from the street, on the building-side of the signpost.
5. Perfect your locking technique. When locking your bike use the U-Lock to attach the bike frame (never just the wheels) to a secure bike rack or pole. Allow for as little space between the lock, wheels and frame as possible; loose locks can be more easily broken open. Position the U-Lock with keyway facing down to make it hard for thieves to access. It is best to secure your wheels with locking skewers or use a heavy duty cable to lock both wheels to the frame. Lock your seat to your frame or take it with you, especially if you have a quick-release seat clamp and remove valuable accessories such as lights, speedometer or bags. There are a variety of recommended locking techniques, choose the one that works for you:
Wondering where you can find places to park your bike in the Cape Town? Use our Bicycle Parking Map to locate public bike racks, indoor bicycle parking facilities and bike friendly businesses across the city.
REGISTER BIKES / REPORT THEFT
Register and tag your bike. Record the serial number of your bike, found at various locations on the frame. These numbers can be used to identify your bike if stolen and recovered. Use the Bike Hub‘s Stolen Bike database to register your bike and report theft.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR BIKE IS STOLEN
- File a report with the SAPS (South African Police Services). Provide serial number and pictures of your bike if you have them.
- Register and report your stolen bike on the Bike Hub’s Stolen Bike database. If you receive a tip or info, contact the police. Do not attempt to recover bike on your own.
- Tweet a photo and description of your bike to @bicyclecapetown using the Hashtag #StolenBikeCPT. Include info about where it was stolen and any other details of the theft. We will share this with our network.
- Look for cameras where bike was stolen. Sometimes buildings have cameras facing the street. Contact the building owner to recover tapes.
- Visit local pawn or swop shops. Look on Gumtree and online stores and tell your friends to look out for your bike around the city. Ask local bike shops to look out for bike. If you do spot your bike, call the local police immediately and ask them to assist in your recovery.
- Always remember when buying a second-hand bike, to check that the seller owns it. When buying a new bike, buy from a recognised dealer. If you buy stolen goods not only is it illegal, it also builds a market in which thieves can operate.
- If your bike is truly gone, then file a claim with your insurance company.