Bike Theft Prevention

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3 Foot Passing Law

“The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle shall pass to the left at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. When a motor vehicle overtakes and passes a bicycle, three feet or greater is considered a safe passing distance.”

How to lock your bike:

Nothing ruins your ride faster than having your bike stolen. Here are some steps you can take to seriously reduce the likelihood of that happening -

  • Use a U-lockCable locks can be cut more easily than you might think. Cheaper and older U-locks can often be broken without any tools. Sourcing your U-lock from a local bike shop is a good way to make sure you're buying a quality product.
  • Don't make it easy to steal! Bike thieves love low hanging fruit, and nothing deters them like the presence of a quality lock. Many thefts are crimes of opportunity, so make your bike the hardest one on the rack to steal.
  • Lock the frame first. Try to secure the wheels and seat, too. The heart and soul of your bike is the frame. It also happens to be the most expensive part; make sure you lock it to something secure. Use a secondary cable to lock the wheels and seat. IN many cases a U-lock can be used to lock both the frame and rear wheel. Accessories (lights, pumps, etc) are commonly stolen items. Take them with you.
  • Your lock is only as good as what it is locked to. Make sure whatever you locked up to isn't going anywhere. Be mindful that trees and wood can be cut through.
  • Your garage, shed, or storage room isn't as safe as you think. Even if you have parked your bike in a "secure location" be sure to lock it to something. Bikes are commonly stolen from garages or shared basements.
  • Document it! Take pictures of your bike, record the serial number, and where possible list your bike on your insurance. Learn about bike serial numbers.

Register your bike with the Bike Index


The Bike Index makes stolen bikes harder to sell and easier to recover by making sure important information about your bike is there when you need it the most. The process is simple, secure, and free.

Learn more about the Bike Index - and then make the smart choice and register your bike for free below.

(If you are here to register a stolen bike, please click here instead)

(( This registry is powered by – want to run your own? Drop us a line. ))

What should you do if your bike is stolen?

Here are some tips help recover your stolen bike.

  • File a police report immediately. If your bike was stolen in Cleveland you can file it online, here. Provide serial number and the pictures you diligently took.
  • Register your stolen bike as “stolen” with the Bike Index (see form above).
  • Leverage the power of social media! Tweet a picture and description to @CLEPolice and @Bike_CLE. The more people who know your bike is stolen the better. Include information about where it was stolen and any other details of the theft. Post the bike to the Facebook pageCleveland Stolen Bike Alerts.”
  • Check to see if the theft was caught on camera. This is why security cameras exist. Check with the building owner to get access to the tapes. If it is a public camera, check with the city or local police to find out who you should contact.
  • Proceed with caution. If you receive a tip or info, contact the police. Do not attempt to recover your bike on your own.
  • File a claim with your renter or homeowner’s insurance company. Even if not explicitly itemized, bike theft is sometimes included coverage on insurance policies.
  • Monitor online sales sites. Keep an eye on websites like Craigslist, OfferUpNow, and Backpage - thieves will often post stolen bikes for sale on these websites, sometimes months after the theft. You can also use monitoring tools like to set up alerts for your bikes make and model.
  • Use your friendly neighborhood bike shops. Check with bike shops in the area to see if your bike shows up there. Many bikes have been recovered by local bike shops after someone tried to sell it. (bike thieves aren’t very smart sometimes)