What To Do When Your Bike Is Stolen | PedalChef

Your bike has been stolen and you don’t know what to do next. This article will guide you on the steps to take when you notice that your bike is missing.

Why was my bike stolen? Are there steps that I can take to recover it? How many stolen bikes are recovered? What can I do to prevent my bike from getting stolen? Our simple guide will provide the answers to these questions and help you ensure that your bike is as secure as possible.

There are several things you can do when your bike is stolen. These include: informing the police, contacting your insurer, using a bike registry, looking for your bike, and leveraging social media. These can help you recover your bicycle or at the very least, get compensated for its theft.

In this article, we will examine the factors that lead to bike theft, show you the steps you can take to recover your bike and provide a few tips to help you keep your bike safe at all times.

We aim to provide our readers with useful, accurate and well researched information to guide their decision making process. Thanks to our highly qualified and experienced team of researchers, writers, editors and others, we ensure that we only provide you with top notch content that meets your needs.




Statistics show that one bike is stolen every six minutes around the globe and that one out of two bike owners will experience theft at least once in their lifetime. Bike theft is rampant for several reasons including the fact that bikes pose minimal risk to the thief, a low reporting rate and the potential for high rewards.

Any type of bike is at risk of theft; however, with the advent of high end bikes with hefty price tags, bike theft has become even more lucrative. Bike thieves can make thousands of dollars just by stealing a bike and selling it on the black market or to unscrupulous or ignorant buyers.

Bike theft is a misdemeanor in many states. Penalties run only into the hundreds of dollars with short jail terms so thieves are willing to risk these thanks to the promise of high reward.

With bike theft so rampant, you might be tempted to just give up and let the thieves have their way. However, there are a few things you can do to try and recover your bike when it is stolen and also protect it from thieves in the future:

Steps To Take When Your Bike Is Stolen

There are several steps you can take once you discover that your bike has been stolen. The speed at which you implement these steps will determine how quickly your bike is found. The longer you delay these steps, the harder it will be to recover your bike. Below are a few essential steps to take once you discover that your bike is missing:

Dial a non-emergency number

A non-emergency number provides an alternative to emergency numbers and allows you to contact your law enforcement office in order to report less serious crimes like petty theft and others.  It is usually a ten-digit number that connects you directly with your local police department. However, if this number is not available, you can dial 311 in the USA and use a variety of other prefixes for other countries.

Ensure that you provide the police officer with as much relevant information as possible. This includes: your full name and address, date and time you last saw the bike, brand, model, price and others. This will help the police look out for bikes similar to yours being sold in your area or nearby localities. You can also provide details of the offenders if you happened to see them. Describe their physical appearance, clothing, time you saw them and any other relevant details.

Call your insurer

Once you have reported your bike’s theft to the police, the next thing you should do is call your insurer. Hopefully, you have taken out a comprehensive bicycle cover so that your insurer can reimburse you in the event of a theft. Insurers reimburse the Insured Declared Value of your bike.

Insuring your bike is especially important if you ride a brand name bike, have an electronic bike or are a pro cyclist riding a bike that costs thousands of dollars. However, even if your bike is a mid-range one, you can still get reimbursed by the insurance company to enable you to buy a new one.

There are several steps you need to take while filing your bike insurance claim. To begin with, ensure that you contact a reputable insurance attorney who will advise you on the best process to ensure that you get maximum reimbursement. Next contact your insurer and provide details about the theft, including the police report. Finally, file your claim and wait for the company to contact you.

Start looking for your bike

Even if you have filed a police report and made a claim with your insurer, you can still be proactive and look for your bike yourself. It can be hard to let go of a bike that you have ridden for many years or one that is customized from scratch. If you feel like you stand a reasonable chance of finding your bike if you search for it yourself, then you should go ahead and look for it.

You can start by looking at the security footage in your building to see if the cameras might have recorded anything unusual. Next, ask around your neighborhood and put up fliers asking anyone who may have seen your bike to contact you. Consider offering a small reward if your bike is especially valuable or has sentimental value.

Visit physical and online flea markets to see if your bike may have been listed for sale. Finally, leverage social media and the power of community to see if you can locate your bike.

Register your bike as stolen

Sites like bikeregistry.org and Garage529 allow you to register your bike’s details for easier tracing and recovery. By providing information such as your bike’s brand, serial number, model, make and others, you can notify other users on the site if your bike has been stolen. Once someone spots a bike with details that are similar to yours, they can then inform you so that you can check to see if it is a match.

Find out if your lock manufacturer has a compensation plan

Some of the larger bike lock manufacturing companies have compensation schemes to reimburse people whose bikes have been stolen in spite of using the company’s lock. Bike owners whose bikes have been stolen as a result of their bike lock being broken can get some monetary compensation from the lock company.

In order to qualify for these schemes however, you must have registered for the program in advance and provide proof of insurance deductible payment from your insurer.

Alert your local scrap yard and pawn shop

Most bike thieves will want to avoid discovery by selling off bike parts instead of complete bikes. As a result, they will target pawn shops and scrap yards to purchase these parts. You can try to get your bike back by alerting these establishments and asking them to be on the lookout for your bike’s parts. Ensure that you provide a detailed description of your bike’s parts in order to make it easier for pawn shop and scrap yard owners to identify them.

Buy another bike

If you still cannot find your stolen bike despite implementing all the steps mentioned above, it might be time to consider buying another one. Since only about 7% of stolen bikes are ever recovered, you may eventually find yourself at the point where you have to purchase another bike anyway.

Once you have taken all the steps necessary to report your bike’s theft, it is now time to start using strategies that will reduce your chances of losing future bikes to theft.

One of the best ways to secure your bike is to use a double lock. This involves using two locks to secure both the back and front wheels of your bicycle. The first lock should go through the front wheel and around the bike rack and frame. The second lock should go through the back wheel and the frame and bike rack as well. To ramp up your bike’s security even more, ensure that you use locks from different companies.

Another effective way to make it harder for bike thieves to steal your bike is by customizing it to stand out from the rest. Bold colors, custom decals, different colored spokes, stickers and spray paint are just a few ways you can personalize your bike and ensure that anyone who steals it will have a hard time selling it.

Consider registering your bike with a bike registry service or website.  Bike theft is so rampant that there are now bike registries to help bike owners, the police and other parties identify a stolen bike. These sites allow you to input your bike’s details including; brand, model, year of manufacture, serial number, color and others. This ensures that anyone who comes across your bike can easily identify it and notify you and the relevant authorities.