As of June 24, EPS has had 237 reported stolen bicycles in 2019. Last year in Edmonton, 1,530 bikes were reported stolen and only 50 were recovered. 1,021 bikes were sent to auction, as the owners could not be identified.
In order to reduce the number of bicycles that are unreturned, and to reduce the number of bike thefts as a whole, Constables Dana Gehring and Kenny McKinnon went to the cycling community and Stolen Bikes Edmonton Facebook group to see what cyclists were already using and what they wanted; they found Bike Index.
"It took a lot of hard work from a few passionate officers to put together a proposal for their superiors to introduce Bike Index - not only as a recovery tool - but as a bike registry that has proven to stand out from the others with ease of use," said a representative from the Stolen Bikes Edmonton Facebook group.
Bike Index is a not-for-profit online bicycle registry. Bicycle owners can create a free account and in about two minutes, their bicycle is registered. An online bicycle registry means that owners can access their bike’s information instantly, which is crucial if a cyclist ever needs to prove ownership of their bicycle.
Bike Index has also recently developed stickers (above), like your licence plate registration sticker, to make the identification process easy. Anyone who finds your bike can scan the QR code with a smartphone and see if you’ve listed it as stolen, or they can message you to say they found your bike. It’s also a deterrent for potential bike thieves because it shows that the bike is being watched by the community.
"Bike Index is thrilled to form a partnership with Edmonton. By forming this official partnership between Bike Index and EPS, we can provide tools - such as allowing officers to communicate with bike owners before they've even marked their bike as stolen - that we've developed specifically for police accounts," stated Lily Williams, Communications Director of Bike Index. "We've built these tools to increase bike recovery rate, and we're excited to provide these services to a department that has an interest in supporting their cycling community."
To get as many bicycles registered as possible, we have shared the EPS and Bike Index branded stickers and informative brochures with a number of local bicycle shops; their staff will be able to assist in the registration process for anyone who comes to their store. Citizens can also come in to one of EPS’ six stations to pick up a sticker and brochure.
"The support we have received within EPS and Edmonton’s cycling community shows how important this initiative is," said Constable Kenny McKinnon. "We are proud to lead our city into a future that will hopefully see a noticeable decrease in bike theft and we want to thank Bike Index for partnering with us to make it happen."
How to register your bike with Bike Index
- Create an account at BikeIndex.org. You’ll need to provide your bike’s details including serial number, make, model, and colour. You can add more details like aftermarket parts too – the more details the better. Don’t forget a photo and your phone number. Your phone number is only accessible by an EPS officer. This provides instant contact with you if our members find your bicycle.
- Scan the sticker’s QR code with your smartphone camera or QR scanner app and open the link.
- Get your free unique sticker from an EPS front counter or participating Edmonton bike shop. Place your sticker on the seat tube of your bicycle (the bar that extends from the saddle, down to the bottom bracket).
- Link your bike by searching your bike description, email address, or bike’s serial number and click ‘Link It’ when your bike is listed.
Please see our Bicycle Registry webpage for more information and head to BikeIndex.org to register your bicycle now.