It doesn’t matter what type of bicycle you have, how you intend to use it, or what level of cycle training and experience you have – cycling is a great option for the first and last leg of your journey. You should be able to rely on the bicycle as part of your everyday transport needs and expect it to be there when you return.
Protecting your bicycle from loss is important and especially so when using it for transport when we need to be sure it will be there when needed. Increasingly facilities are available to support multi-modal journeys such a bike, ferry, train, bike, walk. We can take many steps ourselves to improve security but employers, venues and the local authority have important roles to play as well.
So what do we need to do? And what can we expect from organisations, including where appropriate, local authorities.
Perhaps the two most overlooked steps are:
- Bicycle registration – on a suitable service such as SNAP and following the guidelines, these include:
- Etching the bicycle frame with a distinguishing mark – NZ Police recommend your licence number, or similar, and UV-pens / security etching kits are readily available;
- Ensuring you keep current high quality photos of your bicycle to aid identification, including a photo of the bicycle frame number, with a safe copy on cloud storage;
- Immediate ‘notification of loss’ to NZ Police – ensuring you keep a record of the tracking number associated with the case to support future communications – you can dial 111 or walk into your local police station.
- Insurance cover – contents insurance typically covers but do check with your insurance company for your specific bicycle and ensure security advice is complied with or exceeded:
Figure 1 – Bike Registration – Serial Number Action Partnership (SNAP)
“Create and store an asset list of property serial numbers for free! If an item is lost or stolen, you can access this secure online serial number list, from anywhere, at any time.” – NZ Police, 12 Feb 2019
Once these are in place physical protection is helpful, for example:
- Selecting an area with good passive security, such as a busy street where the bicycle is readily observed by many passers-by;
- A well illuminated location providing ease of visibility in the evening as well as during the day;
- When possible a location with active security, such as monitored CCTV or oversight from local staff;
- Use of specialist equipment such as Hexlock, or secure bicycle skewers, to frustrate easy removal of components;
- Ensuring any components such as lights, bicycle computers, batteries are removed and securely locked away.
Figure 2 – Choose a good place to lock – A well-lit busy location in clear view
“Choose a busy place. Busy streets make it riskier for the thief to be noticed and caught. If there’s CCTV, it’s even better. Lock in the middle of other bikes. The coming and going of other cyclists is off-putting to a thief.” – Consumer, Bike Locks, Sep 2017
The right locks
The final step is to ensure that two good quality locks are used to secure the frame and both wheels to a suitable immovable object, such as a bicycle stand, as follows:
- Selecting two different types of secure lock, such as U-lock and Chain;
- Ensuring each lock is Sold Secure Gold or ART Level 3 to 5 (higher being better);
- Use of supplementary cables to secure items such as saddle – though do avoid any form of cable, or other low security device, as your primary lock choice, they are far too easy to defeat and invite unwelcome attention;
- Correct positioning of locks, off the ground but without allowing easy access to pry the locks from the bicycle or secure stand; and
- Ensuring lock openings are downward facing.
Figure 3 – Lock Well – Use Two Locks Securing Both Wheels & Frame to Stand
“Having an impenetrable bike lock will count for nothing if you don’t know how to properly secure your bike. A loose fitting lock or a lock mounted too close to the ground, or around the top tube of your frame are easy targets for potential thieves.” – The Bike Exchange Team, 21 April 2017
Take it with you
Did you know you can take a bike on a ferry and train? It’s an excellent way to have a day out and explore new parts of Auckland. Remember to check the ferry timetable for return sailing times, as off-peak and weekend services differ from weekdays.
On trains large items (including bicycles) must be carried in the area designated within the train carriage.
The Auckland Transport website has a host of useful and practical information to support your journey. Check it out at: https://at.govt.nz/cycling-walking/advice-support/tips-safety-advice-for-cyclists/
Having taken the precautions above it is far less likely that your bicycle will be stolen. If it is, you have the steps in place to support recovery or, if needed, to arrange a speedy replacement.
Focusing upon cycling for transport, key areas to provide good facilities are those found across the Public Transport (PT) system, for example:
Start of trip:
- Many of us will start our journey from the home or office, in these environments it is our choice, or that of our host (employer/university/school/local business) that may influence what is available. A simple practical device is a good quality ground anchor or secure bicycle stand (such as a securely installed Sheffield Rack).
- Several hosts are able to offer enhanced facilities such as secure bicycle cages and oversight from CCTV in well illuminated, well ventilated spaces.
- The team at Auckland Transport can be contacted to advise on the most appropriate facilities.
- Short-term bike parking: The standard for Auckland is secure mounted stainless steel Sheffield stands; these are provided in many locations and are suited to stays from 1 to 3 hours. We do not recommend that bicycles are left unattended for longer periods or overnight.
- Tools: Bicycle tool stations can be found a key locations along our major cycle routes, they offer a limited set of tethered tools for emergency use.
- Water: Water stations for toping up your water bottle are provided at many major cycle route locations, staying hydrated is very important at all times and particularly in the warmer months.
End of trip:
- Long term bike parking: Here we supplement the Sheffield Stands with weather protection, additional security measures such as enclosure / monitored CCTV and good lighting. We recognise the need for more of this type of facility at major transit locations. These are suited to bicycle parking from 3 to 9 hours – it is important not to leave your bicycle for longer periods in these facilities such that others have the chance to access them.
- Lockers: Ventilated secure lockable lockers for bicycle gear (eg helmet / jacket).
- Charge point access (to recharge e-bike battery), in lockers or suitable secure location;
- Bike valet / repair shop / tools.
- Good passive security: Bicycle stands are typically located in areas with good passive security from frequent passers-by;
- Appropriate active security.
- Weather protection.
- Sufficient to attract excellent referrals: We monitor feedback to assess how well the facilities provided are meeting the needs.
- A pleasure to use: Beyond security, our aim is for the facilities to be a pleasure to use.
- Able to accommodate increased capacity to cater for demand:
Figure 4 – Cycle Infrastructure – Supporting End to End Trip (Multi-modal)
“The critical enabler is having secure bike parking at these transit stops.” – Better By Bicycle, Oct 2014
Cycle Security – Checklist
So let’s revisit the headlines and ensure we have the basics in place ahead of our cycle journey:
- Bike registration complete
- Bike preparation complete
- Good standard secure locks in place for both wheels and frame (Sold Secure Gold / ART 3+)
- Plan for the use of facilities end to end on the trip
- Promote and support successful facilities
- Enjoy the cycle and extend your range by combining with Public Transport
Figure 5 – Lock both wheels and frame to rack using two different lock types
“Use a well-positioned Folding Lock and U-Lock to Sold Secure Gold or ART 3+ standard for effective locking. Only consider a cable lock as an additional measure for securing accessories such as a saddle or helmet.” – Bikes Welcome, Feb 2019
Most important of course is to enjoy cycling as part of your everyday transport needs, from that leisure ride at the weekend with friends, to the local shop run and commuting to work.
Keep the channels of communication open with your local authority providing accurate and timely feedback on the facilities available. Post reports on Google Maps to share with other cyclists the best facilities you have found. Support the uptake of active modes (cycling, scooting, walking) as part of our everyday journeys, saving money, reducing pollution and supporting healthy lives.
Let us know if you have found further effective steps that might assist others.
This article was written by Matt Cole, a Bikes Welcome champion for Auckland. Matt also suggests you check out AT’s information on bike security.
You can take photo of your bike and serial number on your smart phone and upload to the cloud. Information on any single service can become lost or corrupted, by using more than one it is likely that the information will be there when you need it. Good examples include: SNAP ( https://www.snap.org.nz/ ) and your own choice of cloud storage, such as Google Drive. ↑
See NZ Police video: https://www.facebook.com/AucklandDistrictPolice/videos/982469098522762/ ↑
Sheffield style is typically consists of a thick stainless tube bent into the shape of a square arch. ↑