top of page

How To Stop Your Bike Getting Stolen In Vancouver: Ultimate Guide

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

man stealing a bike

Isn't cycling just awesome? It's not only a blast but also eco-friendly, wallet-friendly and a boost for your health. But imagine the buzzkill if someone swipes your beloved bike, which may very well happen since - particularly in Vancouver - bike theft is on the rise.

Get this: North Vancouver reported a jaw-dropping 262 bike thefts in 2021. Perhaps it was this that lead to the RCMP bait bike program, explored later in this article.

If you own a bike, it's time to saddle up and learn the most effective prevention strategies to stop your bike getting stolen in Vancouver.

Plus, I've collated a list of the best bike locks that you can use as prevention below.

5 Ways To Stop Getting Your Bike Stolen In Vancouver

1. Invest In High-Quality Thick Locks Have you ever tried to break a bike lock with a set of pocket plyers? Me neither, but for some of the cheaper bike lock designs, it's actually surprisingly easy. This, coupled with lock manufacturers aiming to cut costs on materials and sell you a lock that merely appears secure underscores the importance of knowing which bike lock designs actually work.

Although a visual deterrent is useful, bike thieves are looking for an easy steal that's low risk. This means finding a target where they can cut the lock and get away fast before a bystander has the courage to confront them. Bike thieves also want to blend in, which means that carrying a large set of bolt cutters or a battery powered angle grinder along a busy sidewalk is less than ideal.

Given that all bike locks can be compromised with the appropriate tools, your chosen bike lock essentially forces a thief to invest additional time in the act of stealing, increasing their risk. Moreover, better bike locks require more conspicuous tools that raise suspicions, further increasing risk.

16mm (5/8 inches) steel thickness should be the minimum that you should accept for a bike lock, otherwise bolt cutters will cut it. Backpacks and bolt cutters come in all shapes and sizes so don't risk something small. Size matters!

Kryptonite and Abus are well known for their thick locks that are reliable and durable. A good lock can last decades so it's worth spending slightly more.

2. Double Down with Dual Locks Two is better than one, especially when it comes to locking up your bike. One lock is a deterrent; two can be a deal-breaker for would-be thieves who are worried about spending more time at the scene.

Using more than one lock can dramatically increase the security of your bike and a thief may be equipped to bypass one type of lock but might be deterred if they encounter a second one of a different type.

DO NOT use two cable locks, as these are super easy to snip with plyers or backpack sized bolt cutters. Instead, opt for the combination of a U-lock and a heavy-duty chain or cable lock to add to your bikes time-to-steal score. As an added bonus, you can often loop your helmet in thinner of the two locks and leave it with your bike.

Here are my favorite bike locks that will significantly add to your time-to-steal bike score:

3. Choose a Highly Visible Spot For Your Bike Bikes are not like your internet search history. They are difficult to hide! Back alleys, quiet parks and secluded car parks are exactly what thieves are looking for because they offer a low chance of being discovered whilst they steal your bike.

Instead, lock your bike in a highly visible place that is well lit and with lots of people, or as I think of them, potential alarm bells. The more potential bystanders that are willing to intervene, or at least call the police or take a picture of the video for identification, the better.

The next best thing to people are cameras. Thieves know that banks, big department stores and gas stations have cameras so to steal a bike from these locations requires a mask. Covering your face is classes as intent to conceal your identity which can add to criminal sentencing, so most thieves don't want to play this game for something like a bike.

Your bike is usually the getaway vehicle, so for an added layer of protection you can remove the front wheel. This is sometimes convenient if you are commuting and have a place to store a quick release front wheel at work.

The RCMP have said that high-end mountain bikes are often stolen from bike racks on cars or from the backs of pickup trucks, so if you're leaving it on a vehicle be sure to use a lock!

4. Go James Bond with GPS

If your bike gets stolen, GPS trackers can be installed on your bike and can help you locate. You can then track its location online. For example, this air tag on Amazon has an ultra-thin design to be placed on your bike where no one will notice it.

Remember, no single method is foolproof so using a combination of strategies can provide the most comprehensive protection for your bike.

bike getting stolen

5. Register Your Bike and Keep Records

If your bike is stolen, serial numbers and detailed photos of your bike are invaluable tools when it comes to recovering it. You can locate your bike’s serial number on the underside of the crank, headset, rear stays, seat down tube next to the crank or on the top of the crank.

To further ensure recovery, make your own engravings somewhere on the bike.

Remember to register your bike with Project 529, a free bicycle registration and recovery service endorsed by the Vancouver Police Department.

There are 2 easy steps to register your bike today:

  1. Register your bikes for free on the Project 529 app or website.

  2. Pick up and apply your tamperproof shield to your bike.

Once registered, your bike will be included in the world’s largest bicycle database which will come very handy if it’s stolen.

The Dreaded Scenario: What Do I Do If My Bike Gets Stolen?

If the unthinkable happens:

  • Scour Facebook Marketplace to see if it’s being resold quickly.

  • Leave a local announcement on your neighbors’ Facebook group with a photo of your bike explaining that it was stolen and someone might be attempting to sell it on Marketplace. You never know - someone might spot it.

If you spot your stolen bike online, don’t go all Rambo and meet up with the person and recover it yourself. Let the police handle the showdown and contact the local police so they can handle it.

Sometimes you may be unlucky because there's a chance that the bike was just sent to 'chop shops' where it’s disassembled, making the original bike harder to trace.

Good News: The Bait Bike Initiative

I love innovative solutions, and North Vancouver's RCMP is stepping up. Their bait bike program, aimed at trapping unsuspecting thieves, is already showing promising results.

Thieves beware - in a bid to reduce bike thefts, North Vancouver RCMP has started a bait bike program where bikes act as bait and are closely watched by police officers.

And it seems to be working. On July 22, a local man was taken into custody by North Vancouver Special Response Team after he was caught riding a freshly stolen bike that was put up as bait.

On July 6, a Port Coquitlam man was quickly arrested after he was located riding one of the many bait bikes and in June, a third man was arrested while riding a bait bike he had just stolen.

By adhering to these above tips, you can safeguard your bike and enjoy the numerous benefits of cycling in Vancouver. Stay safe and enjoy the ride!

1 commentaire

Christian Johnson
Christian Johnson
07 mars

Locksmith Gastonia NC specialists offer alarm systems for bikes. These alarms can deter thieves by drawing attention to any unauthorized attempts to move or tamper with the bike. Moreover, they charge genuine fees from their clients as compared to other locksmith companies.

bottom of page