Metro Police share four ways to prevent bicycle theft

John Russell (Vanderbilt)

Midtown Nashville has recently experienced some bicycle thefts. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department would like to share these suggestions for theft prevention:

Choose a lock based on your needs.

A small, lightweight cable lock is usually good enough for quick mid-ride stops at local coffee shops. On the other hand, if you’re leaving your bike unattended all day while you’re at work, school or at home, you’ll want a heavy-duty chain that provides maximum security. The smaller the lock, the lower the security, but the easier it is to carry with you. The larger the lock, the more security it provides, but it will be heavier and more cumbersome to carry.

Lock your bike frame AND wheels to an immovable object.

For maximum security, your lock cable or chain should be long enough to wrap around the bike’s frame, both wheels and whatever you are locking your bike to. If you just lock one of your wheels to something, then a thief can remove the wheel and take the rest of the bike. Conversely, if you just lock the frame, then your expensive wheels are vulnerable, especially if they use quick-release attachments. If you can’t include both wheels, then wrap the lock around the frame and the front wheel—many casual thieves will be intimidated enough not to try removing the rear wheel from the chain.

Be sure to lock your bike to an enclosed object that won’t let the lock be slipped off. Ideally, use a bike parking rack, if available. If you have to use a free-standing pole, be sure that it’s high enough or bulky enough that your bike and lock can’t just be lifted right over the top. Respect private property, and don’t block access to doors, stairways, sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, etc.

Choose a location carefully, balancing protection with visibility.

Choosing a good location to leave your bike unattended can be a trade-off situation. If you choose a secluded, out-of-the way location, then it’s less likely to be noticed. However, a secluded location provides a thief a better place to work on taking your bike without being noticed. If your workplace has dedicated bike parking, use it, but still be sure to use your lock. Bring your bike into your workplace with you if your employer allows it. Finally, use your lock even when your bike is parked in your own garage at home. The open garage door has often provided a too-easy opportunity for the bike thief passing by your neighborhood.

Keep a record of your bike and the serial number.

Find the serial number of your bicycle, and make a note of it in your records at home. Keep a picture of the bike with your records, too. The serial number of a bike is usually stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket shell—this is the part of the bike frame where the pedals connect. If necessary, ask your local bike shop for help in locating your serial number. Most shops also include the serial number on your original purchase receipt. You can also place identifier marks on your bicycle as well. If your community has a bike registration service, take advantage of it. If not, there are online resources available that let you register your bike’s serial number and report it as stolen if necessary. Check out the National Bike Registry.

If you see any suspicious activity, call (615) 862-8600.


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