A public service announcement-style poster I made over three years ago.
DNA Info published a kinda groundbreaking story on Monday about bike theft in Chicago, including information about bike gangs in Logan Square, and reporting on a Facebook group where stolen bikes and parts are fenced. And the lack of attention from police.
I think we, citizens and people who appreciate bikes, can do something about this. The best way to avoid bike theft is to use two different kinds of locks (including the Abus folding lock) and secure both wheels and the frame to a fixed object like a parking meter, fence, or square-tube city bike rack (non-city bike racks should be approached hesitantly as their quality varies).
I originally posted my response to this article on Tiny Fix Bike Gang’s Facebook page.
I think this problem has many solutions, borne by the community, the police and the city. I’ll focus only on those we can develop ourselves and petition the city to do.
1. We must educate our friends and coworkers about sucker poles. Word of mouth is the strongest and most effective communication, but the slowest to distribute.
2. We can communicate the sucker pole’s suckiness on the pole itself, most easily with a sticker that calls out the problem and advises the user to pick a stronger lock place (like an old parking meter, bike rack, or fence).
3. We can petition the city to use simple, cheap, but effective methods of preventing the removal of the bolts. This can include tack welding the nut to the bolt and breaking the bolt threads.*
4.. We can petition our alderman and the Chicago transportation department to, next year, prioritize new bike rack installations in areas that have the highest reported theft locations, as recorded on the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry.
I think any police-involved solutions are a lost cause and wouldn’t be as effective as the above four items.
What do you think?
Always choose the bike rack over the pole.
* If you’re so inclined, you can intentionally damage the threads on the bolt to prevent the nut from being removed. To remove the nut one would have to saw the bolt abutting the nut.