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Theft of Bicycles

Preventing bicycle theft begins with reducing the opportunity for the crime to occur.

Bicycle theft is a problem in major cities across North America. By taking some simple precautions, you can significantly decrease the risk of having your bicycle stolen and increase the chance of recovering it in the event that it’s taken.

How to lock your bike


  • Do invest in a hardened steel, high-quality U-lock from a reputable bike store. It may cost more initially, but could pay off in the long run.
  • Do consider using multiple locks (i.e. second U-lock, chain or cable) for added security.
  • Do make sure your lock is attached to both the bicycle rack and your bicycle.
  • Do ensure your lock is attached through the frame of your bicycle, rather than a removable part such as a wheel with a quick release.
  • Do double-check all locks are secure.


  • Don’t rely on a cable lock unless it’s used in combination with a hardened steel U-lock.
  • Don’t forget to lock any parts that can be taken off your bike like quick-release seats or tires. Take accessories like lights and panniers with you.
  • Don’t forget to double-check your bike is securely locked.

Where to lock it


  • Do choose a location that is equipped with stationary, metal, permanent bicycle “post and ring” poles, or racks that are not easily moved. Shake it to ensure it is secured to the ground and not damaged.
  • Do choose an area that is well-lit and well-travelled.


  • Don’t lock your bicycle to a railing, ramp, chain-link fence or other areas not specifically made for bicycles as it could get confiscated.
  • Don’t lock your bicycle in a way that will hinder the accessibility of wheelchairs or mobility vehicles on pathways, ramps or roadways.

How to increase your chances of recovery

  • Customize your bicycle so it has distinguishable features. Make note of scratches, dents and marks and keep photographs for proof.
  • Record your bicycle’s serial number, make and model.
  • Register your bicycle with local law enforcement. In Toronto this can be done through Toronto Police's Bicycle Registration Form (external link) .