Keep Your Bike Safe
A Word of Caution
New York City is home to some of the best urban bicycling in America. However, it is also home to some of the most professional and aggressive bike thieves in the world. The good news is that there are a number of preventative steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Hal (and Kerri) Grade Your Bike Locking
Tips for Securing Your Bike
- Invest in heavy-duty locks. Cheap locks and cables can easily be cut by thieves. Despite the sticker shock they can induce (and the pain they can be to lug around) high quality chains and U-locks sold by professional bike shops are the only real option for keeping your ride safe in New York.
- Secure the four theft targets. Thieves will take whatever they can get. If you lock your bike frame but leave either of your wheels or your seat unprotected you leave those components vulnerable to theft. Figure out a locking strategy that secures all four of these components with quality locks and chains. Many bike shops sell special saddle locks or will permanently secure your seat to your frame with a used piece of drive train chain for a reasonable price. Note: In many cities, it is customary to lock your wheels only if you have "quick-release" skewers. This is not the case in New York. ALWAYS secure both wheels.
- Don't leave your bike outside overnight. The safest place to lock a bike is almost always indoors. When you aren't using your bike find a safe place to keep it in your dorm room or apartment. If you really have no room for talk to a local parking garage. They are required by law to provide bike parking and will often allow you to rent a space by the month at a reasonable price.
- Choose a good spot to lock your bike during the day. NYU has several protected areas on campus for bike parking. These include the flagship Tisch Hall Bike Parking Lot (behind Tisch Hall at Mercer and 3rd St.), as well as The Palladium Bike Room (13th St. entrance), and the Meyer Building lobby (Washington Place). These locations (with the exception of the Palladium Bike Room if you are a Palladium resident) are only for same day parking. Bikes left in these locations overnight are subject to removal by Public Safety of building management. Also, just because these areas are restricted to the NYU community does not mean that they are not vulnerable to theft. Lock your bike as carefully as you would on the street.
- You don't have to use the NYU bike racks. If you can't make it to one of these locations the next best option is to use one of the hundreds of Department of Transportation public racks located throughout the city and in high density around NYU.
- You don't have to use a bike rack. If there is no bike rack available your next best bet is to lock to a public street sign (preferably not a bus stop sign as your bike becomes an obstacle for people getting on and off the bus).
- Be mindful of what you're locking to.You should NEVER lock up to someone's private property (fence, railing, etc.), a subway railing, a tree, a parking meter, or a horizontal scaffold bar.
- Never leave your bike unlocked outside. Not just for a second, even if you're keeping one eye on it. Just don't do it.
- For more tips on safe locking, check out this guide from Bike New York.