Registering your bicycle with a bike register costs nothing and takes very little time but remarkably few cyclists seem to bother.
Why is this and is registering a bike really worthwhile?
No single national bike register
One of the most striking reasons why cyclists don’t register their bike with a bicycle register is that there is no single national registry for bikes. Basically there is no bike equivalent of the DVLA. As a result the decision is not as simple as should I register my bike, but where should I register my bike?
Cyclists are clearly capable of making an informed decision as to which register to choose, but because you don’t get any instant “value” from registering a bike the extra decision simply puts up a further barrier.
Up until recently the bike registration process cost cyclists money. Either it cost to register your bike or it cost to check the register to see if a bike had been reported as stolen. Services like Bike Register now allow cyclists to register and check the register for no cost.
How do I register my bike effectively?
Bike registers cover their costs of the free services they provide by selling related cycling security products. I think this is a good arrangement because it provides registration and register checking to all for no cost.
However, when I first thought of registering my bike, the range of alternative products for sale made me think that a basic (and free) registration was worthless. I did not want to pay for any other product (tag, etching or responder) but decided the registration was not effective unless I combined it with something that I had to pay for. I now know this is not the case.
Does registering my bike make my bike more secure?
The biggest reason that cyclists don’t register their bike is they don’t think it will make their bike more secure. However, there are two very good reasons to take the few moments (and no cost) that registration provides:
1 – Thief deterrent; and
2 – Aids recovery.
A registered bike is a less attractive bike to steal
Displaying a sticker that your bike has been registered is a big deterrent to a bike thief. Particularly, when there is a line of other bikes that a thief could go after that are not registered. Thieves know that a registered bike can be reported as stolen and that if caught with a bike that is reported as stolen they are liable to be charged by the police.
A registered bike can be recovered more easily if stolen
The police check bicycle registers when they recover stolen bikes in order to find their legitimate owner. By registering your bike you create a simple and straightforward link between you and your bike that makes it far easier for the police to return your stolen bike to you. If you don’t register your bike you risk it sitting in a police storage facility until it goes to one of the police auctions.
Do I need to pay extra for bike security markings?
There are numerous bike marking programmes organised by the police where they give out tags, etching and transponders for no cost. If you want to give your bike extra protection it is a good idea to look online or in your local newspaper to see if the police are doing an event near you soon?
If there are no police marking events near you anytime soon then you might want to spend a bit of extra money on the extra security these offer. My view is that the simpler methods may not be jazzy and funky but they are quietly effective. Etching your bike or sticking on an immovable tag gives you a unique registration identification code (frame numbers are good but not completely unique!) that will link you to your bike in the event it is stolen. The police approve of this simple approach and we agree.