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Bike Theft Task Force launches registration drive with U-lock giveaway

Posted by on April 20th, 2020 at 5:31 pm

(Photo: PPB)

Earlier this month we shared that the leader of the Portland Police Bureau Bike Theft Task Force said we could “end bike theft overnight” if everyone registered their bikes online.

Now Task Force leader Officer Dave Sanders is putting u-locks where his mouth is.

Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Abus Locks, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and registration site Project 529, the Task Force is adding a new twist to their “U Lock U Rock!” program. Once live events like Sunday Parkways start up again, they’ll be doing more cable-lock-for-u-lock exchanges. For now, all you need is a phone and an internet connection.

The new “Earn A Lock” program is open to anyone who can register bikes on Project 529. All you have to do is email BTTF@portlandoregon.gov and put “U Lock Challenge” in the subject line. Then go out and register at least 15 bikes using the 529 Garage app and wait by your door for your free lock!

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Note that they’ve upgraded the free lock to a higher-quality model this year!
(Graphic: Portland Police Bureau)

Ofcr. Sanders says this year they’ve upgraded the locks to the Abus 420, a $65 lock, because, “Portland is such a uniquely difficult environment.” Abus sells the locks to the PPB at a steep discount and the bureau purchases them from River City Bicycles.

If you’re new to biking and/or new to BikePortland, remember that cheap u-locks and cable locks are easily defeated by thieves. Never leave your bike unlocked and always use a u-lock if possible. If you need one, take advantage of this offer!

Learn more about the Bike Theft Task Force in this interview with Ofcr. Sanders in the latest episode of the PPB’s Talking Beat podcast. And follow @PPBBikeTheft on Twitter.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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PitchforkDave SandersJohn Lascurettestodd.boulangerKyle Banerjee Recent comment authors
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Racer X
Guest
Racer X

“Hold the Phone”…”what the”…if the Bike Theft Task Force gives ‘everyone’ a secure lock by an excellent company…then all the “easy to steal bikes” with coil or cable-only-locks will be harder to find AND thus thieves will have to upgrade their tools (20v grinders etc.)…thus making good u-locks now “coil quality”. Its like the reverse of herd immunity. ;-]

Now I wish that everyone having better locks in Portland would make the bike thieves leave Portland but they like living here too.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It’s an arms race, basically. The same thing has happened with cars. Now, every soccer mom thinks she needs 6,000+lbs on the pavement to keep her babies safe.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

We could start by ending open-air chop shops. But that would require enforcement and being mean blah blah blah.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Portland loves small business.

David Hampsten
Guest

It has a 14mm steel shank with a 10/15 rating. It’s comparable to the Kryptonite Evolution (orange) series. It’s suitable for a commuter bike with a value up to around $700, but beyond that I’d get one with a 16mm or 18mm shank that requires two cuts with a grinder.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Yeah. I know. Funny. Buy an expensive, light-weight bike and pack around a heavy lock to protect it. Then there’s those who pack around the lock plus six feet of anchor chain.

David Hampsten
Guest

It is very ironic. I have a friend in the Bay Area with a 14 lb chainlock, the kind you lock a motorcycle with, for his bicycle. Even my small NY forgetaboutit is amazingly dense, like a solid piece of steel. Whereas if you are riding a $100 department store bike, a simple cable lock starts to make sense, or even some twine.

Ultimately, it’s about deterrence – making your bike harder to steal than the one next to it. I have a couple locks of different weights and ease/difficulty of picking/cutting, and the one I select for any given trip has more to do with how safe I think my bike will be when I get there, with the lightest ones going to the safest locations/cities, as all my bikes are pretty valuable.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

A heavy expensive lock is a significant disincentive whether you have a light expensive bike or a cheap one. With one, you undermine the point of your bike (with the expen$ive components still left completely unprotected) and the other is a major financial disincentive.

Despite being a lifelong cyclist, I’m willing to do neither. I spend too much time on my bike to ride junk, and I’ve invested too much getting myself and my gear dialed in to be weighed down with a bunch of steel for frame/wheel protection only for the vast majority of riding I need to do.

todd.boulanger
Guest
todd.boulanger

Dave – yes, that is the crux of the historical problem in Portland (and many ‘bike friendly’ US cities)…there really has been little to no effort at holistically addressing the “middle” of the parking situation between on-street free racks and private valet secure bike parking (housing or employer based)…basically publicly funded 24/7 “Smart Park” for bicycles…conveniently located public secure parking rooms for minimally locked bikes (ie. OHSUs ‘Go-By-Bike”, the former Bikestation, etc.). This would help to democratize access to security for owners of bikes from Huffy to Vanilla levels.

A future network of these facilities in the future should be rolled into the City’s contract for shared micro mobility AND the City’s public parking garages, IMTO.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Well, and we’ve seen how poorly some of those “secure” bike rooms perform. My company is moving offices during this pandemic (was already scheduled). So when the day comes where I can return to the office, it’s going to be a shared bike room for the whole building instead of having our bikes in our own office like where we are now. This means I’ll definitely be bringing extra locks with me and keeping them at the new office just to make my bike less convenient to swipe than the next one. The day will come when inevitably a nefarious opportunist gains access to the bike room.

todd.boulanger
Guest
todd.boulanger

Jonathan – clarify your text: “Then go out and register at least 15 bikes using the 529 Garage app and wait by your door for your free lock!” So you need to register 15 bikes or more THEN you get a chance to get a lock?

[I think I need to go buy 2 more bikes to make the cut off, don’t tell my spouse or the bike that I married at MCBF 😉 ]

Dave Sanders
Guest

Yes, once you register 15 bikes, your personal bikes included in that total, we will send you an ABUS 410 Ulock.

Steve Hash
Guest
Steve Hash

Maybe I’m in the minority, but my family doesn’t have fifteen bikes…

Dave Sanders
Guest

These may be more doable when things normalize again, but here’s some bike registration ideas past just personal bikes:

-co workers who bike commute

-other residents in your building (if you meet someone in the bike storage room, suggest helping them register their bike. Also can mention that they will get an email from Project 529 with the registration details that you capture. )

-neighbors (if you see them in their garage, pop open the 529 Garage app and walk them through the registration process.)

– Join the BTTF at a registration event later this summer!

JOEL E REBIK
Guest
JOEL E REBIK

15 bikes is a lot of work for 1 lock

Dave Sanders
Guest

It may seem like a lot, but between family, friends and neighbors, we hope that’s easily attainable. Once we start events again, come out and help the BTTF with a registration event! We can count those bikes toward your total! =)

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

And $65 is a lot of money for some people. Between coworkers, neighbors, family and so on, I don’t think it would be *that* much work for someone to get 15 bikes registered, and a free lock for their efforts might be well worth it.

Pitchfork
Guest
Pitchfork

What — I have to install an app?!? No way, Jose! Fifteen bikes is already a high number to register, but installing another slip-shod app on my phone is a deal breaker!