A new online community platform has been launched to put the brakes on bike theft by linking cycling-minded people with a bike’s rightful owner.
The free online Bikelinc platform, powered by Crime Stoppers, enables cyclists to store images and details of their bike in a secure and easily searchable database.
Stolen or missing bikes handed to police end up at the ACT Policing Exhibit Management Centre in Mitchell, with only 18 of the 204 bikes there reunited with owners during the past 12 months.
Another 24 were returned to the person who found the bike, while the remaining bikes were either sold or destroyed.
The Bikelinc platform began as a joint initiative between Crime Stoppers Western Australia and Western Australia Police Force in late 2019, which has recovered more than 15,000 bikes in the state.
The ACT is now the second jurisdiction to join the service.
Crime Stoppers ACT chair Diana Forrester said the new platform would also make it easier for potential bike buyers to confirm and track a bike’s history before and after a purchase.
“We have a large and enthusiastic biking community in Canberra, many with very sophisticated, expensive bikes which will be safer if they are registered with Bikelinc,” she said. “It’s a proven Crime Stoppers platform so the ACT community can trust that their personal information will be kept safe and secure.
“Anyone purchasing a bike will be able to use Bikelinc to review thousands of records in real-time by simply entering a serial number to determine if a bike has been reported lost or stolen.
“Bikelinc will be a gamechanger for the reduction of bike theft in the ACT. The platform also includes useful information such as what to do if you find a bike and what to do if your bike has been lost or stolen.”
Pedal Power CEO Ian Ross said he has seen stolen bikes that have been chained together instead of locked to a secure object.
He also said bike sales have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic began and he urged all Canberra cyclists to use the online database.
“Registering your bike on Bikelinc will only take a few minutes and if it means your bike can be returned to you if it is stolen, it will be worth the effort,” said Mr Ross.
“Pedal Power is always arguing for more places to lock up your bike, but having something that will help you recover your bike if it is stolen is a great thing.”
Head coach at JT Multisport triathlon club, and avid triathlete, James Thorp said bikes are his livelihood. He said many cyclists spend as much as double on their bikes than their cars. He will join police officers to get to as many bike shops as possible to spread the word about Bikelinc.
“Being a coach, I ride my bike every day so if I had a bike stolen, I probably wouldn’t be able to go to work,” said Mr Thorp.
“Some of the bikes now are worth upwards of $15,000 so being able to have some peace of mind that I can get my bike back if something was to happen is really important.”
ACT Policing’s officer-in-charge of community safety, Detective Inspector Mark Rowswell, said most bikes are stolen from Canberra’s Civic area, and he will be working with other officers to encourage cyclists to register their bikes.
“Stolen bikes we have recovered often fail to make their way back to the original owner because they cannot be accurately identified,” he said.
“We know in recent years more Canberrans have bought bikes which is great for our community, but as a result bike theft has grown by more than 25 per cent in the ACT since 2017. In 2019, 787 bikes were reported stolen.
“The new Bikelinc service will allow police to quickly match any recovered bikes with a serial number and images uploaded to the site by their owner.”
The Bikelinc platform is a free resource available to everyone in the community, while retailers also have the ability to upload their stock to Bikelinc and transfer a bike to its new owner’s profile upon purchase. Anyone buying a secondhand bike can also check Bikelinc to see that the bike isn’t listed as stolen.
You can visit the Bikelinc website to register your bike’s details. Canberrans are also reminded to take the time to securely lock up their bike and report bike theft immediately to ACT Policing on 131 444.