Welcome or welcome back to campus, Hoosiers!
As you begin settling into Bloomington this semester, the commute to class is undoubtedly on your mind. If you plan on biking to class, be aware that there is usually an uptick in bicycle theft this time of year. These thefts are more than a mere annoyance; they are a genuine problem that can be found in almost every city, especially on university campuses. These crimes crush opportunities to further a bike-friendly environment and deter students who may want to use bikes on campus. According to data from surveys conducted by IU Transportation Demand Management (IU TDM), an estimated 64% of bike thefts go unreported. Students can help prevent these thefts from happening and increase the chance of their stolen bike being recovered by following the guidance provided in this article.
1. Use a U-lock, not a cable lock
Be aware that many of the campus bike racks are open and exposed. If you are a student living in the dorms, you can help keep your bike safe by renting a bike locker to park in or asking your residence hall if you are able to bring it inside overnight. Avoid using a cable lock and instead invest in a hefty U-lock. When locking your bike, practice good locking technique by threading your lock through the frame, bike rack and front tire. Refer to the graphic below for help following the safest locking procedure.
IU TDM advises that you remove the lights from your bike when parking it outside, as individual pieces can fall victim to theft, as well. U-locks can be pricey, and if you need one there will be a free bike lock giveaway while supplies last from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Forest Dining Hall.
2. If your bike is stolen, report it to police
Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of bike thefts go unreported. IU TDM survey respondents expressed that they did not believe their stolen bikes could be recovered, which dissuaded them from bringing the issue to IUPD. In the event that your bike is stolen, you are strongly encouraged to report the theft to IUPD, even if you do not have high hopes for a recovery. “The chances of your missing bike being recovered by police is definitely going to be zero if you do not report it,” Transportation Demand Management Coordinator and Bicycle Manager Anna Dragovich affirms. “If you do report it, there is at least some hope for recovery, and we then have that data point to help IU track and address this issue.”
3. Register your bike
Furthermore, a recovery effort is strengthened if you register your bicycle with IU Parking Operations, which includes a $10 one-time fee. In the registration form, you will include your bike’s serial number, as well as the make, model, color and type. This information is shared with IUPD and can help IU recover your bike if stolen. Keep these details readily available for yourself, too. Finally, take a picture with your bike; this will show law enforcement that you are the owner.
Consider visiting the Ballantine Bike Hub, which offers 24/7 access with your CrimsonCard to high security, indoor bike parking and two bicycle repair stations.
Have a safe semester at IU with the resources available to you and your bike! If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please refer to IU Transportation Demand Management’s website.