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  #1  
Old 06-09-2008, 08:36 AM
Quentin Quentin is offline
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Default Some thoughts on bike theft.

Bike theft seems to be a never-ending problem, and it is always disappointing to see so many accounts of stolen bikes. Having been a victim of a home burglary myself, I can relate to the frustration and anger of having one's posessions stolen. However, considering how common bike theft is, every time I read about someone looking for their stolen bike I can't help but wonder about the security measures involved, or lack thereof, and secretly assume it was their own dumbass fault for not taking 30 seconds to lock up their bike properly. It doesn't seem fair to blame the victim for the loss of their bike, but considering how common bike theft is and how easily it can be prevented with a sturdy lock, it is hard not to blame them.

Given enough time and the right tools it is certainly possible to defeat any bike lock, but how many theft victims took the time to use a sturdy next-generation U-lock with cables through the wheels? Not very many, I would suspect. I would have a lot more sympathy for bike theft victims if broken Kryptonite New York locks, severed wheel cables, and heavy-duty bike racks removed from their anchor were found at the scene of the crime.

Last edited by Quentin; 06-09-2008 at 08:57 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2008, 09:57 AM
brock brock is offline
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Shhhhh! It's the low hanging fruit I count on to distract the theives from my own ride.
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  #3  
Old 06-09-2008, 10:34 AM
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djasonpenney djasonpenney is offline
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Default Like seatbelts in a motor vehicle accident?

It's like when I hear about injuries and deaths in motor vehicle accidents. It's not always the case, but many times you have to wonder if the victims were correctly restrained in the vehicle. The news accounts seldom mention this critical fact.

Though...we sure hear about it if a bicyclist isn't wearing a helmet. Double standard?

Based on my informal and incomplete experience examining locked bicycles as I commute around the area, I have to agree with you. Most people simply have no idea how to lock a bike. The most common stupidity is the assumption that wheels are hard to remove.

Just because you don't ever remove the wheel on your bike doesn't mean that others don't. It takes all of five seconds to remove the front wheel on my bike and about ten to remove the rear. (Of course, it's an early 70's Sekine without lawyer lips. Add about five seconds for modern frames and forks.)

Coming in a distant second in my unscientific poll are people who fail to lock the frame entirely. Hey, I've got plenty of wheels in my garage; a fully built-out frame is really...scrumptious.

Come to think of it, this is probably a variation on the first faulty assumption. Who would bother to remove a wheel from the bike?
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The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “safe distance” means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic....

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  #4  
Old 06-09-2008, 10:59 AM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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A couple months ago in the afternoon, I was walking up to a corner bounding the Art Institute in the Pearl. Just as I turn the corner, a girl hurriedly locks up a nice old green Schwinn tourer bike to a staple with her U-lock. But get this: she puts the U-lock only around the seatpost and the staple. She moved on so fast, I couldn't catch her, though I went into the lobby of the institute thinking she might be there.

Downtown, there's lots of '...low hanging fruit...' as brock mentions. I see lots of very nice, expensive bikes locked up with only cable locks. The guy didn't offer details, but a couple weeks ago on craigslist, a guy posted a stolen bike ad for the loss of his brand new Trek Portland, stolen at 10th and Taylor mid-afternoon, near the library, I'd guess. I almost wrote to ask for details. If he'd locked it, how could it have happened unless it was a cable lock, or he just didn't know how to attach the lock?

Personally, I don't have a lock yet because I'm not using the bike so exclusively that I've needed one. I've experimented, and a lot of stores let me bring the bike right in; Office Depot, Rite-Aid, Target, Winco. I dread having to lug a lock around, and even worse, having to leave it out somewhere. Thieves and vandals seem to have absolutely no sense of honor these days. When I do resign myself to getting a lock, it'll most likely be a U-lock, or two.
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2008, 11:54 AM
bikewonder bikewonder is offline
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Default not always

yep, i made a stupid mistake. not only did it cost me my prized bike but my panniers, jacket, and wallet. and boy have i kicked myself for all the trouble my behavior has caused me.

unfortunately, life doesn't go exactly as you plan. sometimes your mind is so busy on so many other things that you get distracted. that is what happen to me. do i blame the GREEDY person that stole my stuff...oh, how could i since it was sitting in my front yard?

but don't be so quick to call me a dumbass. believe me, it has caused me more frustration at a time that i could use less stress.

cheers.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:44 PM
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beelnite beelnite is offline
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Default Bike trash...

Inspired by another thread and something I've been contemplating:

Say you purchase a REALLY special and expensive bike. For me the fear factor about possible theft goes way up - so I'm less inclined to take a sweet roadie on the commute.

Then I thought - well maybe I could have the brand removed from the frame - or have it painted some non-descript color and masquerade as a home-built.

Forum mates - would that work? Do you think I'd run the risk of being stopped since the bike would then look 'stolen'.

Or is it just moot because theives know their bikes very well and can easily spot coverups... which means they are into bikes - insiders - and could easily be... gulp... one of "us"!?!?!?!

Excuse me while I panic...

It blows because there are days I'd love to leave my "old reliable" that no one seems to want to ride or steal (though I'm still fanatic about locking up properly - on sentiment alone) at home. Go out drop some change on a sweet ride to fall in love with... fast, light, sigh...

But the worry. The heartache. I'm the kind of guy that will count every nick, scratch and ding as I'm breaking her in... (so I probably couldn't spray paint her anyway) and everyone is a suspect.
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2008, 03:19 PM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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doesn't matter which bike I'm riding - in a lock-up situation, it gets locked up. I'd miss any one of them if it was stolen.

The thing with a nondescript bike - best ones to steal. Not easily spotted. Blend in with the crowd.

If I did not have a bike locker, I'm not sure I'd be commuting with my current commute bike. Or I'd bring it inside. Although the words "fast" and "light" cannot be applied with a straight face.
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2008, 03:24 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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beelnite, I'd be highly surprised if a lot of the thieves weren't very capable of telling when they were looking at a primo bike, even if it were camouflaged with ugly paint and stickers. If the components didn't give it away right off, construction detailing would. It's not that hard to notice a frame with nice welds or lugs, quality drops and such.

I'm more curious about why a lot of bikes aren't stolen, even though they're flimsily locked. It would be interesting to try find out who the bike thieves are (beyond the reflexive explanation that it's random crackheads). Also interesting that so many of the bikes that are stolen seem to kind of disappear off the map. Some say the bikes are parted out, but that explanation would seem to mean a lot of excess parts and frame stock for someone to account for.

For some time, I've wondered if stolen bikes get loaded up in a U-haul trailer and driven out of state to be sold at flea markets somewhere. Or maybe shipped to another country.
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2008, 05:23 PM
fetishridr fetishridr is offline
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Default you are correct

the bikes go into a truck and go to socal. or they get parted out and traded for meth.
thats where my poorly locked bike is. i'd have ninja kicked the person riding it by now if it was still in pdx.
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  #10  
Old 06-09-2008, 06:01 PM
gregg@bta4bikes.org gregg@bta4bikes.org is offline
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Red face My first real bike

When I bought my first real bike a couple of years ago (after building up used and abused bikes for years) I took my brand spanking new Bianchi Volpe and covered it in stickers so it had no brand name, then I rubbed a candle all over the frame. Dirt and grime stuck to the wax in days and I no longer had a shiny new bike. It makes me feel safer to lock it up knowing that a thief might be more attracted to some shiny looking bike, and folks might recognize my bike if they know all of those stickers. Front wheels are WAY cheaper than rear wheels. Sometimes I only lock my frame and rear wheel.
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