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NYU BikeShare Resources

Bike theft in New York City is no joke. Thieves will go at your lock with bolt cutters, hacksaws, portable angle grinders, chisels, hammers, crowbars, and even 2x4s in pursuit your bike.

Play it smart, however, and you can grow old with your bike without fear of its sudden, unfortunate departure. We recommend the following to keep the thieves at bay:

Best Locking Practice (the pizza method)

Lock the rim of your back wheel to an object through the rear triangle of your frame.

A thief will have to cut the rim in two places to steal your bike, which would render the bike unridable and the second-most expensive component — the rear wheel — worthless.

Trouble imagining how this works? Read up here for more detail.

Bottom line: Whenever you lock up, lock up the pizza slice.

Additional tips

Invest in heavy-duty locks. Cheap locks and cables can easily be cut by thieves. High quality chains and U-locks made by companies such as Kryptonite or Abus are the only real options for keeping your ride safe in New York.

When transporting chain locks, NEVER lock them around your hips, shoulder, or neck. Should you fall, you will almost certainly break your hip or collarbone. Stow your chain in a basket or wrap it around the base of your seat post.

Give your bike a quick tug after locking and before leaving. Even the best of us have our days where we have not locked up like we thought we did. Give your bike a quick little tug to make sure it’s securely hitched and not locked to itself or nothing at all.

Make sure the object to which you’re locking is stronger than the lock. You could have an invincible lock and still get your bike stolen if you secure your bike to a less-than-secure object.

Wrought-iron fences can be more easily clipped than a U-lock’s hardened steel. Scaffolding can be unbolted and the lock slid off. Street signs loose at the base can be wiggled out of the ground. Whatever you hitch to, make sure it’s solid as a rock!

Also, be sure that a thief won’t be able to simply lift the lock up and over the object. Naked street sign posts and parking meters leave your bike just as vulnerable as not locking it at all.

Create a snug fit between your lock and your bike. Use every bit of lock you have! Extra slack in the chain or extra space in the U-lock allows thieves room to play with their tools and even manage a leverage attack.

Park in well-lit, heavily trafficked areas. Thieves may be bold. But parking where extra sets of eyes can look out for your bike never hurts. When parking for the night, consider leaving your bike on an avenue rather than a side street.

Don’t park your bike in the same spot all the time. Thieves who see a bike repeatedly parked in one spot may become emboldened to give your lock a run for its money. It allows the crooks to return well-equipped, knowing that the bike will likely be awaiting their sticky fingers. Sticky icky.

Keep your lock from touching the ground. Locks positioned close enough to the sidewalk can be leveraged or crushed more easily than a lock positioned higher up, snugly attached to the bike.

Never leave your bike unhitched and unattended — even for a second. It’s just not smart. A thief on your bike will outrun you on your legs. Take the extra second to lock up.

It’s best to lock up to...

  • Bike racks
  • Sign posts
  • Streetlamps

Never lock up to...

  • Trees
  • Scaffolding
  • Subway railings
  • Private fences
  • Bus stop signposts

In case of theft...

On a BikeShare bike: Call public safety immediately — (212) 998-2222 — and ask to file a police report. Failure to do so within 24 hours will lead to a $300 fine.

On your own bike: Call 911 and ask to file a police report.