9 tips for keeping your bike safe

Sustainable Transportation
Let's bike month
Safe bike lock
Did you know that around 92% of bikes stolen on campus aren’t locked properly? Is yours?

With cycling a popular mode of transportation at uOttawa, it’s crucial to stay vigilant when it comes to bike theft. The Parking and Sustainable Transportation recommends the following tips to ensure the security of your bike and reduce your risk of being a theft victim. It takes less than a minute to steal an improperly locked bike, but there are simple ways to prevent your bike from being stolen.

1. Double up on locks

Always lock your bike with two quality locks; use a U-lock and a cable lock. Use the U-lock to secure the frame of your bike to the bicycle rack. Then, wind a long cable lock through the bike frame, wheels and bike rack. If you use more than one style of lock, it will take thieves double the time and two types of tools to steal your bike.

2. Lock properly

Always lock your bike to an anchored bicycle rack using both locks. Avoid locking just a wheel or locking your bike to poles, trees or railings, as they can be easily compromised by thieves. Bikes not parked at a bicycle rack or that obstruct pedestrian and wheelchair accessibility are subject to removal at the owner’s expense.

3. Remove quick-release items

Prevent easy disassembly by removing quick-release items and bringing them with you. If possible, also remove the seat of your bike. Without a seat, thieves won’t be able make a quick escape with your bike.

4. Record important information

If possible, save your bike receipt and serial number and take a photo of your bike. In the event of theft, this can facilitate the recovery process and serve as proof of ownership. Photos of your bike from multiple angles are also helpful.

5. Register your bike with 529 Garage

529 Garage is a free bike registration program that connects riders around the world. The 529 Garage app alerts other Ottawa-area bicyclists any time a bike is stolen or goes missing. By registering your bike, the information is available to police services to help get your bike back to you if it’s found.

6. Use secure bike enclosures

There are over 170 bike racks located near buildings on campus, for your convenience. For added peace of mind, there are secure bike enclosures on the main campus (near Lamoureux Hall and inside the Desmarais garage) and at 200 Lees.

7. Personalize your bike

Customize your bike with stickers or other markings to make it less appealing to thieves. A personalized bike is less likely to be a target.

8. Never leave your bike unattended

Never leave your bike unlocked and unattended, even for “just a minute.”  It only takes a minute to steal a locked bike; unlocked bikes are irresistible to opportunistic thieves.  

9. Stay alert and report suspicious activity

Be vigilant and report suspicious or unusual activity to Protection Services. Prompt reporting enhances campus security and helps prevent theft.

For more information on cycling options and theft prevention strategies, email the Sustainable Transportation office.