MPD: “The “Do’s and Don’ts” of Bicycle Theft Prevention Do Not – Let strangers ride your bike. (They may not bring it back!)”

Photo by PoPville flickr user ³²¹

From MPD:

“”Do’s and Don’ts” of Bicycle Theft Prevention


Mark you bike with an identification number. Engrave this on the frame of the bike
(example: MD A -123-456-789-123).
Store your bike in the house.
Insure your bike against theft. Check to see if your homeowners or renters insurance automatically covers it, or if it has to be specifically listed.
Record the Make/Model/Serial Number of Your Bike. Find the serial number of your bike near the rear wheel or beneath the bottom bracket where the pedals attach. Write it down and put it in a safe place. Take a color photograph of your bike to give to the police if your bike is stolen. Keep it with your bicycle receipt.

Do Not:

Leave your bike lying in the yard.
Leave your bike in your garage with the garage door open.
Walk away from your bike, thinking you will only be gone a few seconds.
Hide your bike behind bushes and think it is safe.
Let strangers ride your bike. (They may not bring it back!)

Lock It Up!

Every time you leave your bike unattended, lock it up! Use a theft-proof chain, cable, or bar lock to attach it to a sturdy, fixed object.
Lock your bike in a well-lighted area where it can seen from inside a building.
Remember to lock up your bike at home.


As of June 1, 2008, bicycle registration is no longer required in the District of Columbia. However, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) strongly encourage residents to register their bicycles with the National Bicycle Registry (NBR).

NBR is a service that allows you to register your bicycle by serial number in a national database. If your bike is ever stolen, it can be identified and you can prove ownership. Law enforcement anywhere can access this database. NBR also guarantees your registration. If your bike is stolen and not recovered by police within 6 months, NBR will register your next bike for free and the stolen bike information will remain in the database until the bike is recovered no matter how long it takes.”

3 Comment

  • Some other suggestions for locking up to prevent theft:

    1. Use as small a u-lock as possible. More space gives more leverage to try and pop your lock. In my humble opinion, all three u-locks in the above picture are too big.
    2. Don’t get lazy locking up. Use the Sheldon Brown method with the u-lock. This prevents the rear wheel AND frame from walking off without having to lock both together.
    3. If you have a quick-release front wheel, have a thick cable to look around and lock with your u-lock. Cables are the easiest to cut thru and walk off but at the worst, you are only replacing a front wheel. If you can live without quick-release, use anti-theft skewers.
    4. If you don’t need to access your saddle that often, pour wax into the set screw top to prevent easy removal with a screwdriver. If you have a quick-release post, wire that down or remove your saddle everytime you park.
    5. Mark or etch a personal identifying mark in more than one place on your bike. Under bottom bracket, on the underside of your saddle, on the lower part of your stem would all be good places.

  • This post shows a good way to combine the Sheldon Brown method with use of a cable to secure the front wheel:

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