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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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7 Tips for preventing bike theft

(January 7, 2015) Bike theft is getting a lot of attention recently - and with good reason. Bike theft is a deterrent for people riding bicycles and we want to keep people on their bikes and protecting their investments. Below are seven essential tips for keeping your bike safe. There is also a handy card you can download that shows the best way to lock your bike and a place to write down your serial number for recovering a stolen bike.  

bike theft card1. Always use a U-lock. Never use only a cable lock.

2. Lock your wheel and frame together (see card for example). 

3. Use a bike rack (sign poles are not as secure).

4. When possible, do not park your bike on the sidewalk or street overnight.

5. Lock your bike in a well-lit and well-traveled area.

6. Take lights and other easily removed items with you.

7. Write down your serial number. It's the best piece of information you can have to recover your stolen bike. (Download the card for more information).

While our 7 tips are short and sweet, we do want to expand on a few of them. For example, we understand that not everyone has bike storage in their homes and that parking in public (Tip #4) or open places may be the only option. City bike racks are designed for short-term uses, such as going out to eat or visiting a friend. If you do not have more secure bike parking available, we suggest talking with your neighbors and property manager about creating a secure parking area. City building codes require all new multi-family (apartment) and commercial buildings (e.g. office) to have long-term bike parking facilities that are more secure than public racks and are weather protected. However, many buildings were constructed before building codes required bike parking. This leaves a gap in bike parking for many people. However, property managers may be responsive to tenants requesting essential services as part of their leases. 

Our last tip (#7) does not actually help prevent bike theft, but does allow you to claim a bike that the police have recovered. Proof of ownership is essential for getting your stolen bike back. Your serial number and a picture of your bike are your two best preventative measures. An original receipt, if you bought the bike new, is also very useful.

Visit for more information on preventing bike theft.

For even more detail about securing your bike, check out this article from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's pages.