Photos courtesy of Project529
Having a bike stolen is an awful experience. Nearly everyone makes an emotional connection with their bike that makes it even more disheartening. Almost every cyclist will at some point have a bike stolen from them in their lifetime, yet at no point should it become commonplace.
Project529 has made it its mission to stop bike theft, primarily through education and better record keeping. At its heart the project works by recording relevant details and photos of your bike(s) and making that information easily accessible to law enforcement in the case of theft. It also includes visual warnings (stickers) that let potential thieves know that the bike is being tracked.
Because so many stolen bikes end up on eBay or Craigslist, Project529 began collecting signatures back in April that would demand the companies require serial numbers when users sell bikes. At the moment, even if you find your stolen bike on one of these services, there is very little you can do about it.
Project529 first projected 20,000 signatures, but when it realized it would easily reach that, it raised the bar to 50,000. In all it collected 51,203. Printed singles-spaced, front and back, the stack of paper weighs in at seven pounds! Project529 collected them into two, hard-back books that will be presented to both eBay and Craigslist as a sign of how serious the bike community is about protecting itself. Also, because the brand is based in Portland, it added a little custom, hand-crafted flair.
So now it’s up to eBay and Craigslist to take the next step, but in the meantime you can register your bike in your personal Project529 garage. Don’t worry, it’s private, so no one else will know what kind of awesome bike collection you have and potentially make you a target.
Learn more about Project529 and the results of the petition at project529.com.Tweet Print
Bike theft is a problem in all major cities, but San Francisco is making a serious effort to eliminate it with a bike theft task force, headed up by Officer Matt Friedman. His unit has planted bait bikes with GPS trackers all around the city, and not only catches bike thieves, he posts their mug shots to twitter.
This New York Times video show you how the program works, as well as some other efforts the department is doing to stop bike thefts. (Only in San Francisco would a police offer sport a Steal Your Face sticker on his sidearm.)
Have you ever had a bike stolen? Share your story in the comments.