Theft PreventionWe know that bike theft is a worry among many San Franciscans. We have prepared this handy webpage detailing both how to avoid theft -- and what to do if your bicycle is stolen. The Board of Supervisors Budget & Legislative Analyst has prepared a comprehensive report detailing the costs of bike theft across the city, and the numbers are staggering. Read below to better understand how to protect yourself from theft!
Many bike thefts are a crime of opportunity. Wimpy cable locks or a bad locking job could attract thieves and put your bike at risk. Make sure you buy a hardened steel U-Lock and we recommend using a cable to secure your wheels. If you have a large U-lock, be sure to fill the space as much as possible to prevent someone from placing an object inside and prying it open. Park your bike in front of a destination -- the more eyes, the better! And remember: even the most secure locks can be defeated if given enough time -- so, don't leave your bike outside for hours on end, especially at night. Beyond locking techniques, find out how to make your home or office bike parking more below.
Secure Parking Options
Home, Work or Fun: Where to Park
In San Francisco, many bikes are stolen from a residential garages -- especially shared garages. To reduce attracting attention, keep the bikes as far out of sight from the street as possible. If your garage has an automatic opener, consult the instructions to set a timer to automatically close after a set period of time. Inside the garage, keep the bike locked to a bike rack, pipe, or other stationary object. Another option is to install a motion sensing light or alarm to draw attention to the garage should someone break in.
While many buildings in San Francisco provide secure bike parking, sometimes more work is required to find a secure place to store your bike. In 2012, the City of San Francisco passed the Employee Bicycle Access Law -- which requires building owners to either provide secure bike parking or allow employers to install bike parking inside their rented space. If your building does not have secure bike parking, talk to your employer about requesting bicycle access for employees. Find out more about the Employee Bicycle Access Law.
With thousands of bike racks across the city, there will hopefully be an easy, visible place to lock your bike wherever you go. But, if there is not a bike rack, you can always lock to a parking meter or a street sign (then use our form to request a rack from the city!). When parking outside, be sure to remove your lights and secure any object with a quick release -- unfortunately, component theft is common, especially at night.
Register Your Bike
Serial Numbers and Photos are Essential
In addition you can:1. Download & fill-out our "Freezer Form" and keep the information yourself
2. Take a photo and type in your serial number and email it to yourself. That way, it's stored in your inbox forever.
3. Use the National Bike Registry for a fee.
4. Whether you are a renter or homeowner, many insurance plans cover the loss of a bicycle -- anywhere in the city. Check in with your Insurance provider to see if your bike is covered.
By keeping your serial number handy, you can easily file a police report -- or prove the bike is yours if you find it for sale somewhere. See below for steps on what to do if your bike is stolen
What to Do if Your Bike Has Been Stolen
Steps to recovery or reporting
This information is provided as a public service and is only possible through the support of our membership. Consider joining the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition if you found this page useful.