Bike owners urged to protect their rides

Jun 16, 2017

With the arrival of warmer weather - more people are out riding their bicycles. And also losing them to theft. So local law enforcement and others are offering tips on how riders can protect their wheels.  

Near a bike rack on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus - Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, said Thursday, that bike thefts are not just a problem in the city. Flynn says, it happens countywide.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks to reporters along Ellicott St., Thursday, about preventing bike thefts.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"I had my bike stolen all the time in East Aurora. You can ask my mother. She had to keep buying me a new bike," Flynn said.

According to the DA's Office, there were nearly 450 bike thefts last year in Buffalo.

Campus Wheelworks owner, Ethan Johnson says, the biggest mistake riders make is not using a good lock.
"Like cable-locks are usually not good enough. They're easy to cut. And also properly locking up the bike including some part of the frame, not just locking up a wheel. Somebody can often take the wheel off with basic tools or a quick-release and then disappear with your entire bicycle," Johnson said.

GoBike Buffalo Executive Director Justin Booth demonstrates how to properly lock a bike.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

The biggest challenge in recovering stolen bikes according to "B" District Police Chief Joe Gramaglia is a lack of information.
"The make and the model's important. But they're are many make and models and colors that are the same. The serial number's different. So that's what we're looking for," Gramaglia said.

So, GoBike Buffalo's Justin Booth says, his organization is working with several bike shops to encourage owners to register all the details about their ride, online, with Bike Index.
"This is a wonderful program. It's a national program. So the system works not only here in the city of Buffalo. But if the bicycle gets out to Rochester, Syracuse, California, it can still be tracked through this national system," Booth said.

Just Booth says bike registration cards are available at local bike shops.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

Other theft prevention tips from the experts include - never leave a bike unattended. Keep it inside when possible. Or lock it up in a well-lit, well traveled area.