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New bicycle registration network aims to reduce theft

Alia Parker's picture
Prevent bicycle theft with Cycling Australia's bike registration tags.

It's an unfortunate statistic: one in 10 bicycles are stolen within five years of being purchased, most of which are never returned to their owners – and they're just the ones we know about. But a new national bike registration program spearheaded by Cycling Australia aims to combat bike theft through a combination of ID tags, online registration and a social network.

After an 18 month trial, Cycling Australia's taking its bikeREGO community nation-wide with two registration options: a free online network linked to a global bicycle database and a more comprehensive ID option that requires a one-off payment.
As fantastic as bikes are, they are terribly easy targets for thieves – even those that have been chained up meticulously. Bike theft is so common that many insurers, particularly travel insurance companies, won't cover them for theft and insurers that do provide bicycle coverage can often be quite expensive.
While Cycling Australia's bikeREGO community can't guarantee your bike will be returned if stolen, it does go a long way to helping. For starters, if your stolen bike is among the hundreds that end up in the at police auctions every year, then there is a good chance you'll get it back. And if your bike has some easily discernable qualities, it may even be identified by the cycling community alerted through the bikeREGO social network.
CAbikeREGO's comprehensive option starts with a one-off payment of $32 (including GST and shipping) and includes one ID tag. Alternatively, you can purchase five tags for $90 (including GST and shipping). The tags are tamper resistant stickers printed with a QR code – a unique barcode that can be scanned using a free app downloadable by any smartphone device – and linked to the global bike database. Each Pulse ID tag is registered to your online account for life, or for as long as you own that bike, so there are no ongoing costs. Your online account can include other details of your bicycle, including its serial number, make, model and other visual signs and can also include photos to make it easily identifiable.
Furthermore, your account has an option to include an emergency contact that can be used in the event you are injured while riding your bike. The police and emergency services will be able to identify you through the secure bicycle database.
The free option excludes the use of the Pulse ID tags, but allows you to register all other details of your bicycle online as well as provide emergency contact details.
CAbikeREGO won't stop bike theft occurring, but it's a positive initiative that with the right momentum may begin to deter thieves from stealing tagged bicycles that can be traced by the general public back to their rightful owners. 
Image: Melbourne. Source: Tourism Australia


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