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Friday, February 14, 2014

San Francisco Gets Aggressive on Bike Theft

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 9:31 AM


Here's something we can all agree on: It sucks to have your bike stolen. Unfortunately, it's hard to stop bike thieves, and it's also hard to get your stolen bike back.

So instead of just doing nothing, the SFPD is trying desperately to reunite stolen bikes with their rightful owners through a new bike registration program. With the help of SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone), the cops kicked off the program yesterday, helping cyclist log serial numbers into a local database -- just in case their bike is snatched.

With this new voluntary registration program, it will be easier for police to find your bike and find you. Safe Bikes ( lets you register a unique serial number so that if your bike is stolen and recovered you have proof that you own it.

  • Leif Haven

But perhaps there are better ways to help victimized cyclists find their stolen bikes.

Here at SF Weekly, we reached out to our Facebook followers to see if they had any better ideas to reunite stolen bikes with their owners. Here's what some of them came up with:



All good ideas.

According to Supervisor Eric Mar, who attended the bike registry event, bike theft costs the San Francisco $4.5 million annually. "If we don't reduce bike thefts, it's hard to make sure more people are riding." Just think: all that money could go to bike infrastructure improvements!

But there must be some merit to what Supervisor Mar was saying. One cyclist who attended yesterday's event claimed he had partly given up bike riding in San Francisco because of the rampant bike theft. "It's like your bike's not safe anywhere," he told me. But he agrees this bike registration program might change that. "It's about time. It's like a DMV for bikes. It might also make cyclists more responsible."

Meanwhile, police are drumming up some creative ways to catch bike crooks citywide. John Loftus, Deputy Chief of Operations for the SFPD says the cops are planning to start a bike bait program, where officers use their own bikes to lure thieves -- then bust them. "The next bike you steal may be ours and we're gonna come and get it, and we're gonna come and get you."

Until then, make sure you sign up for Safe Bikes. It's not a guarantee that you'll get your bike back, but if anything, it provides hope.

Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill -- literally and metaphorically.

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About The Author

Leif Haven

Leif Haven

Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill — literally and metaphorically.


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