Claire’s and my bikes were stolen yesterday. They were locked together to the same ring-post with a cable lock, and a U-lock doubled up on Claire’s bike. We left them outside of the Toronto Reference Library for approximately three hours. The cable lock must have been cut, but the U-lock remained, attached to the ring-post and Claire’s bike’s abandoned quick-release wheel. (Learning #1: U-locks work better than cable locks, but shouldn’t be attached to things with the words “quick-release” in their name.)
I felt worse about Claire’s bike than mine. Aside from some money I’d just put into a tune-up and some new tires, my bike had more sentimental value than monetary (I’ve had it since I was 14 or younger). Claire’s was fancier and newer. I felt all the things people feel when they’ve been robbed, and had a hard time getting to sleep last night.
One particularly frustrating point is that the theft took place in daylight, in a high-traffic area, and would have been transparent to anyone in the area (picture 2 bikes being removed at once, bolt cutters, a wheel being left behind, someone either carrying a one-wheeled bike away or loading it into a vehicle).
But hey, let’s get past my emotions. Claire and I will get nice new bikes from craigslist (or, come to think of it, maybe somewhere else that’s less likely to sell us someone else’s stolen bikes). Instead, let’s look at some good ideas to cut-down on bike theft (aside from advanced locking techniques mentioned earlier).
One of the best ideas I’ve heard is to require bicycle shops that buy used bikes to record the identity of the seller, in the same way pawn shops do. This is relatively simple to implement, and would be both a deterrent to thieves and a tool for police.
And speaking of police, I know they’ve got a whole lot to do and that they’ll never be able to enforce all laws perfectly. But given the number of public complaints they receive about how they treat bike theft, I’d like to see it bumped up on their priorities list. Here’s one place they could free-up some resources. (As I write this I’m waiting for them to call back. They told me to keep the line free. That was over 2 hours ago.)
As for my pain and loss, maybe I’ll just resort to poetry.