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Bike Theft & Safety

Tips for Bicycle Owners

Preventing Bike Theft

Bicycle theft is an ongoing problem at this and every college. Most bicycle thefts can be prevented by taking simple precautions. You can also substantially increase the chances of recovering your bicycle should it be stolen.

  • Use a high-quality, hardened-steel U-shaped lock.
  • Avoid using locks that can be easily cut, picked, or broken.  Simple chain locks can easily be cut with bolt cutters.
  • Never allow a stranger to ride your bicycle—even just for a short distance.
  • Record your bicycle’s serial number and keep it in a safe place with the sales receipt and a photograph of your bicycle
  • Consider registering your bicycle with the City of Minneapolis, National Bike Registry, or other registration service.  Many bicycles are recovered, but the police have no way of identifying the owner.

Register Your Bike!

Of over 15,000 bicycles stolen in the U.S. every day, only 2-5% are ever returned to their owners. One of the best ways to ensure your bike is recovered is to have it registered. You can register your bike with the City of MinneapolisNational Bike Registry, or other registration service.

Securing your Bike

Use a “U-Lock” to Secure your bicycle!  A U-lock with hardened is more difficult to cut than cable or chain locks.

  • Bike with quick release wheels- release the front wheel and include this with the rear wheel and frame.
  • Bike without quick release wheels- secure the lock through both tire and frame.

Securing Your Bike Using a Cable Lock or Chain.  If you are going to use a cable or chain lock:

  • Use a cable or chain at least 3/8″ in diameter.
  • Use a key lock with a 3/8″ hardened shackle with heel and toe locking.
  • Pull up all slack in the cable or chain and make sure the lock is as high off the ground as possible.

If you are securing your bicycle with either lock, take items that cannot be secured (e.g. quick release wheel, seats, etc.), take the items with you.


  • Secure to a bicycle rack. See Motorcycle/Moped and Bicycle parking map. College regulations do not allow bicycles in campus buildings or secured to trees, signposts, hand railings, etc. Contact Buildings & Grounds for more information regarding this policy.
  • Record make, model, and serial number and keep in a safe place.
  • Inscribe your driver license number on the frame.
  • Report your stolen bicycle to the security department as soon as possible.
  • Report suspicious persons observed near bicycle racks.
  • Use authorized bike racks on campus. Off campus, secure your bike in a frequently travelled, well-lit area.


  • Leave your unlocked bicycle unattended “just for a minute.”
  • Use cable or chain lock, no matter how large, as they are easily defeated with bolt cutters.
  • Secure to chain link fencing or other objects significantly weaker in strength than your lock.