Bike Month Riding Tips: Parking Your Bike

May 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Resources | 8 Comments

According to, somewhere between 800,000 and 2 million bikes are stolen each year for a total value of $50 million in stolen bikes and bike parts. Here are some tips on parking your bike and how to prevent your bike from being stolen.

Where to Park Your Bicycle

  • Parking your bicycle indoors is the safest option. Ask your employer or landlord for a bike parking area that is secure and convenient.
  • When you park your bicycle outdoors, it is vulnerable to theft and vandalism and therefore you should park your bicycle in area with foot traffic. If you don’t want your bicycle stolen, get an old or less known brand-name bicycle or conceal the logo with stickers to discourage thieves.
  • If there are no bike racks available, lock your bicycle on a sign pole or public, permanent fixture. Check to make sure that the fixture is secure, cannot be cut or removed, and that your lock cannot slip over the top of the pole. Be advised: a parking meter can be a place to lock your bicycle. However, some cities, such as Los Angeles, have ordinances against locking your bike to parking meters.
  • Report any damaged bicycle racks. To have one installed, contact your local Department of Transportation (LADOT).

Make your bicycle identifiable

  • Write down the serial number, model, and brand of your bicycle, located on the bottom of the bottom bracket shell.
  • Take pictures of your bicycle.
  • Write down your name and contact information on the visible areas on your bicycle.
  • Put stickers on the bicycle to make your bicycle identifiable.

How to properly lock your bicycle

  • Use a U-Lock, chain, or cable. A U-Lock is the preferable because it is convenient and reliable. Chain and padlock should be at least 3/8” thick and can be very heavy. Also, the cable should be at least 3/8” thick.
  • Lock your bike to a solid fixture on the ground that should not be open on top, as it could allow someone to lift the lock bicycle over it.
  • Check if the bicycle frame is properly secured and locked; also check the wheel as well. It is best to lock the wheels with a chain, u-lock, cable, 2 u-locks, or any combinations of those locks. Secure the lock and frame tightly; do not leave any room for the lever or crowbar, which could be used to pry the lock apart.
  • If you have quick-release wheels, consider replacing them with a locking skewers or bolts. Alternatively, you may remove one wheel so you can lock the frame easier.
  • Remember to take your belongings and and loose items at all time.
  • Do not use a coiled cable lock; these can be cut or have their locks popped open by a sufficiently hard hammer strike.
  • Do not lock the front wheel to the rack even though some racks are poorly designed and force you to assume this is how you should properly lock and secure your bike. Look for an alternative; you can lock your bike to the sides of the racks.
  • Never lock your lock through the handlebars or around the seat post; these parts can be easily removed.
  • Some bike thieves are bicycle enthusiasts themselves, so they may carry a bicycle tools. The bolts on the bicycle are vulnerable to thieves.

Here is picture located on the bottom, of one way to properly lock your bike to a pole or a parking meter.

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  1. Seriously, do take pictures – my bike was stolen, the guy was caught, and his main line of defence was that I didn’t own the bike. It failed and he was sentenced, but in other circumstances….

  2. […] offers advice on how to lock your bike. A non-biking reporter rides to work in Glendale. One in ten California drivers are on their cell […]

  3. I wouldn’t agree with the graphic at the bottom for locking up without removing the front wheel–using a U-lock with the rear wheel is much better than using it on the front, even with a secondary lock or cable. The U-lock is the stronger lock, and a rear wheel is more expensive to replace than a front wheel because of the cassette.

  4. Your tips are so Excellent. Everyone should responsible to parking their bikes in right place and confirm to lock properly.

  5. Will add link to this post to the Bike Security section at Thanks.

  6. My beautiful RED a Dawes lightning 1000 was stole on a Thursday during artwalk. Locked outside of Dublins on 7 th Street in downtown. I still want to check local businesses to see if cameras might have captured the theft. Would you have any advice on how I could go about doing this. The.police are no help.

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