Securing Your Bike on a Public Bike Rack

A bicycle rack is a device to which bicycles can be securely attached. The rack may be free standing or it may be securely attached to the ground or a stationary object, such as a building. You can follow these tips to help keep your bike safe and secure:

  • Even if your bike would be unattended for only a short while, take the time to lock it. Locking your bike is imperative!
  • A considerable number of bike thefts happen at home. Don't assume that a bike on the home premises is safe. Even if the bike is stored in your garage or somewhere else on your property, it should be kept locked when unattended.
  • When leaving your bike in a public bike rack, the better choice is to select a rack that is in a well-lit area busy with pedestrian traffic. Although abandoned "hiding areas" may be tempting for storing bikes, this seclusion offers thieves a fantastic opportunity at taking the bike without witnesses. Many thieves will pass up a bike in a highly visible area because they are more likely to be caught.
  • When possible, lock your bike on a bike rack that is permanently attached to the ground. Thieves have been known to remove drainpipes and lift bikes off signposts. If an anchored bike rack is not available, the bike should be locked to a post that is permanently anchored to the ground. Ensure that the post is tall enough to prevent the bike from being lifted over the post. Avoid locking your bike to anything that can easily be cut with regular tools. Make the lock and bike hard to maneuver when parked, and keep the lock away from the ground and the gap between the bike and the lock small.
  • Make sure that you lock both the bike wheels, as well as the frame of the bike to the bike rack. If the bike rack does not allow both wheels to be locked to the rack, lock the rear wheel as it is, in most cases, considerably stronger than the front wheel.
  • A tempered steel "U" (or "D") shaped lock should be used for more secure locking. Less sturdy locks can easily be broken open with the simplest of tools including a car jack. The locking mechanism should be on the center of the crossbar for the best securing position. The "U" lock should also be just big enough to lock the bike securely to a sturdy bike rack. A more flexible lock type is the chain and cable lock. Nonetheless, remember that these are less secure than the "U" locks. When using chain locks, ensure that they are at least 3/8 inches thick to avoid easy cutting of the metal. A chain with a plastic top coat can also avoid scratching the bike.