July 2024


Downloads and sites to help bike security & bike recovery

Report your stolen bike

Check a second-hand bike before purchase

Check bikes on sale on gumtree, ebay etc

Register your new (or not new!) bike

Don’t buy a stolen bike!! – you are encouraging theft

Here are some hints from @alexwlc that a bike may be stolen…

  • Bike is posted online with very few details, no photos or only stock photos
  • Seller won’t provide the bike’s frame number (all bikes have one).  If you know yours, check it on the bike register site above
  • Seller can’t provide any proof of ownership eg receipts
  • Seller reluctant to provide any personal details eg won’t give an address for collection and wants to meet in a public place
  • Bike seems very cheap
  • Seller wants you to pay cash
  • On ebay: Seller has several bikes for sale, or posting from new account

Other bike security news & developments (most recent first)

2011 Police Scotland  New leaflet on bike security  Paper copies available from police

1707 Keeping your bike safe   A nicely-presented and fairly comprehensive article, including videos of locks being cut.  Note that this is on an insurance company website – Spokes does not endorse any particular company.

1706 Forth Valley Police   2-minute video on bike security

1508 Police Scotland new bike security page.  Also advice on preparing for winter travel [cycling and other modes]

1501 Social Media bike-theft dangers  [particularly if you have a valuable/ high-end bike] [This article was originally based on a CCE forum discussion].   Many people are now sharing details of their bike rides via sites such as strava or flickr.  This can mean that you are giving thieves a direct route to your (expensive?) bike [example1, example2].  To reduce risks, set privacy zones around home/work or other locations where your bike is stored.  Advice on this from Strava is here.   Also remember that electronic photos now often automatically store metadata (i.e. additional facts such as location) along with the photo; so a photo of your bike at home may locate it for thieves.  There are apps to facilitate metadata removal/alteration – e.g. on Android like this and this – but perhaps best is not to upload pics directly from a mobile to public sites, but instead edit them first and save without metadata.   If your bike is stolen see the web tools at 1305 below, as well of course as contacting the police.

1408 Police Bike Security Marking  The police in Edinburgh organise occasional security marking sessions – sometimes free, sometimes charging £5.   Following the creation of Police Scotland and the ending of Lothian and Borders Police [see 1305 & 1209 below] these sessions are no longer posted on the police website, so we cannot give a website to look up [they are sometimes announced on twitter by @EdinburghPolice and we will when possible link to that in ‘Events’ in the left column].   You can also ask the officer who deals with bike security when the next sessions will be:  Victoria.Henretty@scotland.pnn.police.uk.

1403 Bike Shed Security  Our 2011 competition (‘My Cycling Solution’) included a prizewinning entry which gave detailed instructions for cheaply making it less easy to lever the hasp and hinges off from a door [pdf 153k].

1311 Local Policing Plans  Under the Act creating Police Scotland [below] each local authority area must have a Local Policing Plan. The plan contains priorities for the area as a whole and for each Ward of each council.

The police are expected to consult on area and local priorities for each plan. The current Edinburgh 2014-2017 Local Policing Plan consultation includes a questionnaire, and drop-in sessions [pdf 191k] for each local area within the city. [2.12.13 Spokes LPP submission, pdf 188k]

The current 2013-2014 local policing plans are below.  Road safety is a priority in all plans and in most wards, though with greater or lesser emphasis – you can help improve this in future plans by participating in your local consultation.

1306 Web tools to register bikes, find stolen bikes and check second-hand bikes.  It may be worth trying more than one of the sites – and some of the sites are only geared to some of the above purposes.

1305 Police re-organisation & new bike security info   [new link – see 1508 above].  There is now a single Scottish Police force, so Lothian & Borders police no longer exists.  All previous web addresses (e.g. entries below) at former police sites such as www.lbp.police.uk get redirected to www.scotland.police.uk/forces-welcome and you then have to search around to try and find whatever info you are looking for.

1209 Bike Security Marking  Periodically the police run bike security-marking sessions, using BikeRegister.com [below].  These sessions are now always to be listed at www.lbp.police.uk/crime_prevention/cycle_marking_events.aspx.   They will also be announced on police twitter and we’ll try to include any major initiatives in our Events column [left side of this page].  Otherwise, contact Lothian and Borders police at 0131.311.3131.

1204 BikeRegister.com  Lothian & Borders police recommend registering your bike with BikeRegister.com.  Over 1000 Edinburgh bikes are registered, it is used by Transport for London and the Met police and it has 200,000 registrations UK-wide.  Bike registration is free –  additional security levels/products can be bought on the site.   L&B police have provided instructions for registering your bike free on the site [pdf 80k].  [We found it easier to start by clicking the ‘shop’ tab, which takes you direct to the end of step 2 of the instructions].  When registering, check your bike against this police list of bike components [pdf 712k] – but frame number is the single most important item.

If buying a second-hand bike, check its frame number on the site, to reduce the risk of buying a stolen bike.  If you suspect a bike is stolen, please report to the police [In Lothian & Borders area the non-emergency reporting number is 0131 311 3131].1204 Bike Security Info Leaflet [pdf 185k] Advice by Lothian & Borders Police.Whether or not you use BikeRegister.com you can use a pair of web sites aimed at helping recover stolen bikes. Stolen Bikes UK is a site to report stolen bikes. Reports are shared with anyone who has registered on the site and who may be able to help with recovery. Find That Bike is a single site where all the bikes registered for sale on sites like eBay and Gumtree can be searched to try and recover stolen bikes.

1110 Edinburgh Council bike security advice – includes various downloads [Home Office advice; list of certified bike locks, etc]

0812 L&B Police Bicycle Home Security Leaflet [doc 2528K] – advice on securing your bike at home and elsewhere.  This leaflet dates from 2008 and has been superceded by the 1204 entry above.