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Bike registry is available from a number of different agencies. Bikes are routinely registered for use on school and university campuses for the purpose of campus security and as a deterrent to bike theft. Some states and municipalities require registration for bikes used within their jurisdiction. Several commercial and peer-to-peer entities also exist to enable persons to voluntarily register their bikes for theft deterrent purposes.
There are two (2) main purposes of bike registry. One purpose is to provide an element of security (such as at schools and universities). The second purpose is to provide a means of theft deterrence and also to provide a method of recovery in the event of theft. Bikes are stolen in large numbers in many parts of the world. In the city of Copenhagen approximately 20,000 bikes annually. In the USA an average of 230,000 bikes are annually reported stolen according to the FBI. In UK, the Home Office reports an average 400,000 bikes. Globally the number is estimated at 1.5 million bikes reported stolen annually; perhaps another 2/3 (3.0 million) go unreported annually.
At many schools and universities all bikes brought onto campus are routinely required to be registered by their owners on an annual basis and to prominently display a school provided registration decal which is updated on an annual basis.
Some states in the USA, such as California, have legislated laws which allow cities and municipalities to require registration of bikes. The registration period typically is in excess of one year.
Several commercial and peer based bike registries exist for the purpose of theft deterrence and to improve the probability of recovery in the event of loss. The registration period typically is from 1 year to unlimited. Some commercial and peer-to-peer registries are typically preventative in nature and are performed prior to loss, while other registries perform their service only after a theft occurs.
The bike owner generally supplies detailed bike information to the registrar such as: manufacture, model, frame style, serial number, colour, size, and accessory details. Also supplied is the details and contact information pertaining to the owner.
The registrar will typically provide a decal or decal kit to the bike owner such that their bike can be easily identified as being registered. Decals at academic institutions usually have their color/design changed on an annual basis and are typically fairly large such that they can be easily seen at a distance. Decals issued by municipalities are typically of a design similar to academic decals, but not changed on an annual basis.
Decals provided by commercial and peer-to-peer registries are typically smaller than academic/municipal decals and use a more aggressive adhesive and/or construction such that they will remain on the bike in the event of a theft and will be able to assist in recovery and return effort. Some registrars engrave a registration number on the bottom bracket or other part.
RFID (Radio-frequency identification) has been widely used for identification of such things as livestock, pets and industrial commodities. There is a trend by some registrars to utilize RFID, in conjunction with decal identification, as a means of rapidly determining bike ownership by law enforcement agencies.
Fees can vary. Most peer based registries are free or charge a very nominal fee. School and university bike registration fees range from $2 to $5 for a single-year registration. Fees for commercial registrars range typically range from $10 to $25 for multi-year registration. For RFID there can be a surcharge of $15 onto the base registration fee.
Access and Utilization
Access to school, university and municipality registry databases are typically limited to the law enforcement agency in charge of the registration program.Commercial registrars make their registration information available to law enforcement agencies on a wide scale by special request of the agency desiring such information.Peer-to-peer registries make their stolen bike information widely available to all persons (law enforcement and general public).
-  FBI_Year 2006 bike thefts in the USA
- UK Home Office_Yeak 2005 bike thefts in UK
- Copenhagen bike theft