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Ther are quite a few bicycle registration websites aimed to help you recover your bike if it is stolen, such as Bike Shepherd, Bike Register and MyBikeNumber. I'm curious if these sites are of any use.

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of registering on these sites?
  • Is there any data available on their efficacy?
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@Hugo - Welcome to Bicycles.SE. As it stands, this question is currently polling the community--asking for personal experiences--and has no single answer. Please re-write so the question is answerable, thanks! (Maybe ask about the strengths and weaknesses of the different registries--or ask if there's any data available at all.) –  Neil Fein Jun 18 '11 at 16:14
    
@Neil, thanks for the pointers! I've edited the question. Is it any better? –  Hugo Jun 18 '11 at 18:55
    
@Hugo - It's more organized and better-written, certainly. But it's still asking for personal, anecdotal experiences. The last line is great! –  Neil Fein Jun 19 '11 at 4:23
    
I picked up that last word from the brilliant Bad Science, which is partly about good data over anecdotal evidence. www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/badscience . Anyway, I would be happy to hear personal experiences especially as most of these sites are free, and such as the policeman's answer, but I've edited it out of the question. How is it now? –  Hugo Jun 19 '11 at 7:55
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eBay and craigslist - many stolen bikes are listed there. I know of at least one case where a stolen bike found its original owner again due to those great services ;) –  johannes Sep 18 '12 at 0:35

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The two questions that I think matter are:

  1. which sites do your local bikes shops check all the bikes that come in against?

  2. which sites do your local police check bikes they receive against?

In my experience bike shops very rarely check bikes at all, largely because so few are registered (and a relatively low proportion of serviced bikes are stolen). When we have checked it's been because of something like filed-off serial numbers or a DIY repaint job, and we've not ever had any joy doing so. Even ringing the police in one case didn help - the bike hadn't been reported as stolen.

As far as the police go, I've been told by one officer that at least in Australia the best you can hope for is them typing the serial number(s) into google.

You're better off keeping a record of the serial number and reporting your bike stolen with those details, because the police do actually check serial numbers (it's built into the computer systems).

One thing that also helps is carving your ID number (national ID, driver's licence, whatever is common in your country) into the frame or something obvious like the outside face of the cranks. That makes it irritating to remove and again, easy for the police to identify but not easy for anyone else. If you have access to an engraving tool itś not hard to do this (practice on something first!), but of course it also makes your bike hard to sell.

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In Israel the police engrave ID numbers onto bicycles as a service to the public. That's how I did it. –  Eyal Sep 18 '12 at 7:31

If you have the serial number of your bike, the police will enter the information into NCIC.
That's the National Crime Information Center. Anyone running that serial number will get a "hit" on your report.

The main problem we have is that folks simply don't do it; they don't keep track of the serial number and we have to tell them that even if the bike is found, the chance it will be legally identified as theirs is minimal. One Trek 4300 looks pretty much like another...

I have never used any of these sites, and I can say with some assurance that we police in this area don't check them. I suppose it might catch on.... I'll have to do some research.

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The site www.stolenbicycleregistry.com is a free resource to register and track stolen bicycles. The site covers USA and Canada, and allows you to register your bike as stolen, or check a bike that you want to buy to see if it has been reported.

The following cities have Twitter feeds for their bikes:

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I've witnessed many use this service to get their bicycle back. Almost every shop here in Chicago will reference this site if they suspect a bike to be stolen when brought into their shop. –  Tha Riddla Sep 18 '12 at 1:38
    
This answer could probably be merged into the question this is a dupe of. –  Neil Fein Sep 20 '12 at 23:45
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Merge completed. –  Gary.Ray Sep 21 '12 at 20:09

protected by Neil Fein Jun 18 '11 at 16:32

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