How can I keep my bicycle safe?

You can play an important role in reducing bicycle thefts. Protect your bike when you park it, register your bicycle, make a police report if your bike is stolen and do not buy stolen bicycles.

Keep Your Bicycle Safe

Locking your bicycle properly is the first thing you can do to prevent theft. Here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Invest in a good, strong lock that cannot be easily broken.
  • Lock your bicycle frame and wheels to sturdy poles that are designed for bike parking, such as the post-and-ring, or an object that cannot be moved easily.
  • Make sure that your bicycle cannot be lifted over the object it is locked to together with the lock.
  • Try to lock your bicycle in a bright busy area with other bikes. Use two different types of locks for your front and back tires for added security.
  • Take easily removable parts of your bicycles with you (e.g. lights and seats with quick release) after you have locked up your bicycle.

There are different types of bicycle parking available in Ontario. Most on-street bicycle parking poles are free to use. There may also be some paid parking facilities that offer higher security.

Event venues may offer bike valet services when there is not enough space for bicycle parking. You may wish to consider using this service, if it is available, as valet staff will park your bicycle in a secure designated space while you are at the event.

Register Your Bicycle

You should record your bicycle's serial number and keep it in a safe place. You need this information when you register your bicycle or report it stolen with the police.

Often, when the police recover stolen bikes, it is difficult for them to find the owner. If you register your bicycle with the police, there is a higher chance of getting back your bicycle if it gets stolen. Contact the police in your municipality to find out if they keep a bicycle registry and how you can register your bike.

Report the Theft

If your bicycle is stolen, report it to the police in your municipality and give them your bike's serial number and description. Reporting the theft does not mean that you will definitely get your bicycle back, but your chances are greater than if you don't report it.

Check for Stolen Bikes

If you are buying a second-hand bicycle, make sure that you check whether it is a stolen bike. Try the following:

  • Ask the seller questions about the bicycle, such as where they bought it and how long they have had it. If you suspect they are not telling the truth, the bicycle may be stolen.
  • Take down the serial number of the bicycle. You can then check if the bicycle has been reported as stolen, using the Canadian Police Information Centre's website.
  • If you think you found a bicycle that is stolen, report it to the police in your municipality and describe how and where you found the bicycle. 

For More Information

  • Cycling Safety Tips - It is important for cyclists to be visible, ride predictably, understand how traffic works and to communicate with other road users. From the City of Toronto.
  • Register/Report/Check - Information on why you should register your bicycle with the police and make a police report if your bicycle gets stolen. Also why and how to check if the second-hand bike you  want to buy is a stolen bike There is information as well on how to report a theft in Toronto, Peel, Halton, York and Durham regions. From Cycle Toronto.
Last updated: November 16, 2021 4001572