Bicycle Security

Approximately  one million bicycles are stolen in the United States each year.  About 3,000 bikes are stolen a day.  Most bicycles are stolen from yards, garages, or porches.  While 66 percent of motor vehicles are recovered—less than 20 percent of stolen bicycles are ever returned.

Reasons Bicycles are Stolen

  • For the thief’s personal use.
  • As a temporary means of transportation.
  • Sot he thief can sell the bicycle or its parts for money.
  • For some personal reason to deny the owner of its use.

Bicycle Locks

For the majority of bicycle thefts, the bikes were either unlocked, improperly locked, or locked with inadequate devices.

  • The owner should use a good bicycle locking device.
  • A recommended bicycle locking device consist of a three foot length of ¼ inch hardened chain together with a keyed type padlock of high quality having at least a ¼ inch hardened shackle.
  • There is no bike lock that cannot be defeated.  However, the “U” shape locks have proven to be reasonably effective.
  • A good padlock should have at least a 7/16 inch hardened alloy steal shackle.  If the steel is hardened, the word “hardened” will be stamped on the shackle.
  • The lock shackle should be secured at both “heel and toe” and the locking mechanism should be of “pin-tumbler” construction.

Bicycle Do’s and Don’ts


  • Get a bike license sticker from the Taylor Police Department’s Record Bureau to put on the bike.
  • Engrave the bicycle with the owner’s driver’s license number or some other specific identifying number (not your social security number) in order to identify it.
  • When unattended, bikes should always be locked.  More bicycles are stolen from homes than from any other location.
  • The bicycle should be locked to an immovable object in a conspicuous, open and well-lighted place.  When locking the bicycle, at a minimum both wheels and the frame should be secured.
  • If a “U” lock is used, position the bicycle frame and wheels so that as much open space as possible within the U-portion of the lock is filled or taken up.  This makes it more difficult for a thief to use tools to attack the lock.
  • Record all vital information for a bicycle:  make, model, color, identifying marks, serial number, etc.  Have this info readily available for the police in the event of a theft.  This will increase the chance of recovery.
  • Accessories that can be easily removed, like quick release wheels and seats, should also be secured by a lock.


  • Don’t lock bicycles to a small tree, aluminum or wooden posts, or chain link fences.  These items can be easily broken or cut.
  • Don’t lock a bike to a disability accessible ramp.
  • Don’t lock a bicycle to itself (the front wheel locked to the frame).  A thief could simply carry the whole bike away.
  • Don’t position a lock low to the ground.  A thief can attack the lock more easily and less obviously in that position.

Source:  American Crime Prevention Institute