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Community Bicycle Programs - Bike Library - Bicycle Sharing - Public Use Bicycles Issues:
Tracking Bikes / Anti-theft





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If you have questions or expertise about community bike programs, please join the email-based Community Bike Forum.  There are rarely more than a couple message a week.  The discussion focuses on community bike, earn-a-bike, free bike, bike library, bike sharing and other forms of cooperative bicycle programs. It provides those new to the movement an opportunity to get information that will help them along and those with experience an opportunity to share their knowledge and further expand the movement.  To subscribe send an e-mail to [email protected].   Please forward this information to others who might be interested.

Tracking Bikes & Anti-Theft Strategies

Over and over and over again, attrition, loss of bikes, and theft, have been the nemesis and demise many community bike programs -- altruism has its blind spots!. A number of communities have started tracking their bikes with sign-outs and electronically.  Here is the information we have:

Toronto's bikes are signed out with a library card system, and each goes out with a lock, helmet and basket. When they looked into other programs and found that theft was a major factor, they decided that some form of membership would discouraged theft, first by introducing a sense of accountability, and secondly, by building a sense of community and ownership within the program.

Copenhagen's City Cycles, uses 'solid' tires, with 1 gear and a coaster brake, a captive but quick adjust saddle, and basic components made solely for these machines. As such they will have no general value - and in the same way that few people steal a taxi or a bus, few will want to steal a public utility bike.

Copenhagen's bikes are rebuilt each year (unlike leisure hire bikes which are sold off and replaced every 1-2 years) and use the coin release system for used on some airport and supermarket trolleys (carts). Advertising on the bikes funds the running costs, although the income was not sufficient to cover capital costs, at last check.

Most, if not all, of the hi-tech automated bike system use a combination of hardware and software to discourage theft.

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