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Calgary police turn to online registry to aid the return of stolen bikes

Calgary cyclist Natalie Sit said while she’s never had her bike stolen, she knows what a long road it can be to get one back. 

“I’ve heard from my friends who’ve had their bike stolen, it’s never the easiest time to get your bike recovered. You know you can report it to the police but then nothing ever happens,” said Sit.

Calgary Police Services have now partnered with Bike Index.

The online registration service is used to help return lost bikes to their owners.

Constable Brennan Vanderwater of the Calgary Police Service said that he hopes the partnership will reunite more Calgarians with their missing wheels.

“We’ve partnered with Bike Index in the hopes to increase the rate of return of stolen bicycles,” said Vanderwater. 

Keeping an eye on your bike is key

Sit said her family has been car free since 2009 and she always takes measures to keep her bike safe.

“We won’t just park our bikes and walk away for two hours. We have good locks and we try to lock our bikes in the prescribed way,” said Sit. 

Vanderwater said approximately 900 bikes are stolen each year and half of the bikes that are reported stolen are recovered.

Out of that, Vanderwater said only 12 per cent of those bikes are returned because they can’t track down the owner.

“It’s frustrating that we can have as many nice bikes in our evidence and property room and have nobody to give them back to,” he said. 

Bike Index has seen success in Edmonton

The Bike Index program is also being used in Edmonton and Lethbridge.

According to Vanderwater, Edmonton has more than 20,000 registered users and have recovered more than $200,000 worth of stolen bikes in the last year.

In June, Calgary police returned $12,000 worth of stolen bikes with the help of Bike Index.

Sit said the program sounds like a good idea and is interested in trying it.

“This sounds like a pretty easy project, I took a look at the site and it seems fairly easy to register your bikes and even transfer ownership bike ownership if you sell your bike so that’s good,” she said.

Cyclists can put a sticker on their bike to show that it’s registered.

Bicycle with the registration sticker from Calgary Police Services and Bike Index / MADASYN KOST FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Vanderwater said the sticker leaves behind a residue that could indicate if a bike has been tampered with. 

There is no cost to register a bike.