There are many initiatives for getting more people cycling as an everyday transport. One we’ve just come across is from the British Transport Police which tackles the concern around bike theft that puts some people off of cycling to a station rather than driving, incase their bike gets stolen while they are away at work.
Police officers are currently touring stations they deem as cycle theft ‘hotspots’ and offering free Bike Register marking to commuters unlocking their bikes.
The process involves taking the frame number from the cycle along with your personal details and then applying the BikeRegister sticker and the subsequent discrete marking ink. The days of using a hammer and engravers set to punch your postcode into the bottom bracket shell are long gone! This current method won’t damage the frame in any way and will still allow you to be contacted should you move house.
You can then have a sticker placed very visibly on the bike informing any potential thief that the bike is part of the BikeRegister scheme as a deterrent.
If you were to register for BikeRegister yourself you’d be looking at spending £20 for this alone, plus you get to avoid any of the faff by having a skilled officer do it for you.
If you are lucky enough to find the officers doing this at your local hotspot you’ll discover that on the form there is a checkbox for a ‘Gold Standard Cycle Lock’. If you enquire about this you’ll probably discover that your friendly officer has a box of U-locks with him and you can receive one for free.
I’m not sure if you need a special type of bike to qualify but it didn’t appear so when we registered.
Even if you’ve got a lock, this is a smart move, especially if your other lock ISN’T a U-lock. The logic is that a thief would need two sets of tools to break two different types of lock and will not want to hang around for another 30 seconds breaking the second lock as it gives people a chance to see the first broken lock and realise what’s happening.
With pollution at record levels in London (and no doubt in other parts of the country too) and obesity levels rising, anything that can encourage people to cycle is a good thing.
Naysayers may complain about the cost of having officers working on crime prevention, the cost of the bulk registrations to BikeRegister and the cost of the U-Locks but in the bigger scheme of things getting people out of their cars, exercising not having to report thefts to police and burden the insurance industry further makes the scheme very worthwhile.
We at Bikesy would fully recommend finding out when the British Transport Police are at your local station and making sure you lock your bike up there that day. This is an excellent initiative.
A nationwide schedule of stations is regularly updated at http://www.btp.police.uk/advice_and_information/travelling_safely/bicycle_security.aspx or you can tweet them at https://twitter.com/BTP