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About Bike Theft >The Problem >
Response Strategies

1. Improving the use of effective bicycle locks and locking practices

Research consistently shows that many bicycles reported stolen are locked inadequately (Weijers, 1995; Mercat & Heran, 2003; Roe & Olivero, 1993). Westminister Council in London have introduced discount schemes with shops, and police officers have identified poorly parked bikes and encouraged the cyclists that own them to buy better locks and understand what type of locks are out there - see Locks Section for further discussion. Bikeoff, in particular, has campaigned and communicated with cyclists about how best to improve locking practice using stickers and leaflets about common theft techniques.

The effect of some of these communication strategies has been studied by Sidebottom, Thorpe and Johnson (in press) who analysed how a targeted communication strategy in the form of a sticker which illustrated how to lock a bicycle securely - was found to significantly improve the locking practice of cyclists compared with those locking their bikes to furniture on which the sticker was not present. This finding was consistent across two different experimental settings and was taken as a proxy measure for a reduction in the opportunities for bicycle theft. Similarly in Leuven, Belgium (Van Limbergen et al. 1996) found reductions in bike theft after implementing a targeted publicity campaign called 'lock it or lose it', in which cards were attached to poorly-locked bikes informing cyclists how to lock them more securely (although some litter issues have been reported linked to cards attached to bikes).

©2008 // DESIGN AGAINST CRIME RESEARCH CENTRE // LONDON WC1B 4AP fully funded by the AHRC / EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century Initiative