"British Crime Survey said 439,000 were taken in 2005-6; recent Halifax insurance figures suggested one bike is taken every 65 seconds nationwide. If stolen, Stolen Bike Alerts are sent to the growing army of bike detectives that follow the free service on Twitter and Facebook, who in turn spread the word. Alerts also go out to bike shops, bike clubs, school security offices and the police.
Bike Revolution’s goal is to register every bike in the UK. Their aim is to have 50% of all bicycles registered by 2012, in time for the Olympics, with 90% of bikes registered by 2015. High levels of bike registration is the first step in fighting bike theft, as registered bikes are harder to sell and easier to trace to their owners.
Research indicates an unregistered stolen bike has no more than a 2% chance of being recovered and traced. Due to this, the police treat bike theft and recovery as a low priority crime, with many recovered bikes being sold at police auctions because their owners can’t be found.
Bike Revolution developed the new Pulse ID tag in response to a dramatic increase in bicycle theft in the UK and has resulted in a huge increase in second-hand stolen bikes being sold online, many within hours of being taken. Research confirms 1 in 6 second-hand bikes sold on online classified and auction sites are stolen.
James Pickering of Cycleguard, a bicycle insurer said, “The boom in cycling has created rich pickings for bike thieves, with a fair proportion of stolen bikes ending up on the second-hand market. If you purchase stolen items they never actually belong to you, and can be seized at any time, either by the police or by the rightful owner.”
However, there have been some successes. Bike Revolution’s scheme follows successful models in America and Norway, with the latter using a fee-based program that has resulted in 50% less bike thefts since the program started. In the Netherlands 700,000 bikes were stolen in 2008, galvanizing the government to spend over £1 million to institute a country-wide bike registration initiative with all new bikes equipped with an anti-theft tag.
Bike theft also affects healthy lifestyles. Mike Cavenett of London Cycling Campaign said, "Bike theft is cited as the most common reason for people giving up cycling. In 2008 there were over 17,000 bikes reported stolen in London." It must be tackled more seriously by the police. The costs to Londoners and to the city are phenomenal. However, many bike thefts are never reported, and estimates are that the real total is three or four times higher.”
Bike Revolution’s believes its free service and tamper-proof tags are a deterrent to bike thieves who prefer non-traceable goods. Each tag is linked to the registered owner on company’s secure database. Registered bikes are less appealing, with thieves opting for bikes that are unmarked.
Traditional police methods of marking bicycles with ultraviolet paint are cumbersome and require the police to mark your bike and charge a fee to register the bike. Unlike other bike schemes, Bike Revolution is free to register a bike, report a stolen bike, send out alerts or view the stolen bike database.
Bike Revolution is a not-for-profit company. Bike Revolution’s registration service is free. Pulse ID tags can be purchased online at www.bikerevolution.org at an introductory offer price of £7.95 per tag.
# # #
• Bike Revolution was founded in 2009. It is a privately owned, not-for-profit company.
• Bike Revolution is a UK based free online bicycle registration service offering technology solutions to combat bicycle related crime. Products and services are offered to public, government organizations and commercial enterprises.
• Bike Revolution is the first company to offer a mobile phone-based solution designed to combat bicycle-related crimes. Its mission is to reduce bike-related crime by 80% within 5 years.